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Pirtt Puhlisfnd 

Seeotui Edition 



Text, Translation and Couuentary, Canto XVII to 

Canto XXXIV (inclusive) i to 66i 

Imdex 663 to 681 

Vol. II. 


The Death Mask of Dante, full face (Piatt) FrontitpUc* 

Pont in the Baptistery at Pisa {Photogravure) - 7a 

The Broken Bridge in the Sixth Boloia (Woodcut) • 3x4 
The Torre della Fame at Pisa in 1507 (Photogravurg) • 600 




Benvenuto remarks that towards the end of the last 
Canto Dante showed how he had fished up Geryon 
^/pionwdo piscatus fiierii ma7tstrum Geryon). 

Benvenuto divides the Canto into three parts. 

In Divi'iion I, from ver. I to ver. 33, Dante describes 
ieiyon's multiforra body. 

In Division II, from ver. 34 to ver. 75, he relates 
r, before mounting upon the back of the monster. 

IS sent by Viri^ii to speak with certain Usurers of 
Florence and Padua who are sitting in torment on 
the verge of the Great Abyss. 

In Division III, from ver. 76 to ver. 136, the 
descent of the poets on the back of Ger^'on down 
into the Eifjhth Circle is related. 

Division I. — When the Poets commenced their 
cnt into the Seventh Circle, they encountered 
be Minotaur, a creature that was half-man and half- 
wbom Dante has introduced as a type of Vio- 
lence, Bestiality, and Brutal Lust. Now that they 
11. ' A 

Rtmdmgs om tiu Imfewmo. 

Canto xvrr. 

are about to go down ioto tbc Circles and Subdtvi' 

ftions of Fraud, Dante brings befare us with mucb 
circumstance of detail the monster that is supposed 
to represent Fraud, and who in 1. 97 is addressed hy 
Virgil as Gerj-on_ Dante does not appear to have 
closely followed the legends of the Geryon of M\*th- 
ology. Scartazzini considers the Gcnon of Dante 
to be purely a creature of ibe Poet's own imagina- 
tion, save that he has taken the idea of Geryon 's 
scorpion tail from the Bible [Rev. Ix, 10). One of 
the many legends of Gerj'on is that he was a king of 
Spain who ruled over three islands, in which he kept 
a large number of hetfers which were guarded by the 
giant Eurythion and the two-headed dog Orthos- 
Hercules first killed the gianl^ then the dog, and 
lastly Geryon, who pursued him as he was driving 
off his herds. Probably the legend of Hercules 
having killed these three opponents suggested to 
the poets the idea of representing Geryon with three 
bodies. Dante gives him one body made up of three 
shapes that befit the character that Geryon is meant 
to symbolise. The head is that of an honest man, 
because Fraud begins by flattering and beguiling; 
the two hairy paws, denoting rapine, are perhaps 
derived from the two-headed dog. All the rest of 
the body is that of a serpent with a forked and 
pointed tail wherewith to slay, indicating craft and 
violence. Dante may have meant thi^ part of Ger- 
yon*s body to have been derived from the giant, as 
^»ccording to Lubin some of the poets depict giants 
^vith feet formed like serpentii. In the DeGniealogia 
Dtorum (i, cap. 2t) Boccaccio says, evidently referring 

ICantoxvit. Reoiiittgs on tk^ Inferno, 3 

othioa medifeval tradition, and also to the present 
tssageof the DUnna Comuudia : *' Fraudis formam 
Mtes AUegeri Florentinus, eo in poemate quod 
werilino scripsit idiomate, non par\'i quidem inter 
poemata momenti. sic describlt. Earn scilicet 
iostihominis habere faciem, corpus reliquum iierpenti- 
n, variis disttnctum maculis atque colonbus^ et 
Ijoacaudam terminan in scorpionis acukum>eamque 
yli innare undis, adeo ut illis excepla facie totum 
contegal horrldum corpus, eamque Gerionem cogno- 
winaL . . . Et inde Gerion dicta est, quia regnans 
tpud Baleares insulas Gerion miti vultu, blandisque 
verbis, et omni comitate consueverit hospites susci- 
pcrc, et demum sub hac benignitate hospites oc- 
ci^re." This story is also related in the Anonimo 
The Canto opens with an exclamation of wonder 
I repugnance on the part of Vtrgil on first seeing 
■ terrible creature which he has evoked from the 
ths below; the monster, however, in obedience to 
t signal, draws up to the brink of the precipice. 
^Ecco U &cra con Ib codft aguzia, 

Che paasa i monli, e rompe i nitiri e V armi ; 
Ccco colei che tatto il mondo appuzza." — 
SI cominci<f> lo mio Duca a parlarmi, 

Ed accennollc chc vcnissc a proda, 5 

VicJno si fin dc' passcggiati marmi : 
E quelU aoxza imagine c i froda'* 

^fadld totxa im4tf;iru! di froda : Compare the fine lines in 
*o, OH, Fur. m\v, St. S7, in which the figure of Fraud is 

'Avea piacevol viso, abito oncsto, 

Vn umil va]gcr d' occhi^ un andar grave, 
Un parUr »i benigno e &I modcato, 
II. A 2 

Readings on the Inferno. Canto xvH- 

Sen vcniie, cd a.rrivo la testa e iL bustoi* 
Ma. in suiJa riva. non tra&se la coda. 

"Behold the wild-beast with the pointed tail, that 
passes the mountains, and breaks down walls and 
weapons; behold the creature that infects the 
whole world." Thus began my leader to speak to 
me, and beckoned to it (the monster) to come to the 
bank, near to the edge of the causeway {lit, marbles) 
that we had walked on ; and that loathsome image 
of Fraud came forward, and landed its head and its 
bust ; but drew not up its tail to the bank. 


Some Commentators, among whom is Biagiol^ 
understand by the above lines (erroneously I ventur 
to think) that the figure came swimming up th- 
cataract, and overtopping it, swam in the water 
the Phlegethon to the margin, on which it thei^ 
rested its paws while its tail remained under watet — " 
But that view is wholly at variance with 11. 25-27, it^* 
which it is expressly stated that Geryon's taJI wa^ 
writhing in the void (wf/ nann tiitta sua coda guhzai^a 
and that the point of the said tail was twirled or^ 
high. Henvenuto explains the position of Ge^'of^ 

Che parca Gabriel che dicesser Avt^ 
Era brutta e deforme in lutt^ il rcslo ; 
Mr naftc&ndea questc fatter^ prave 
Con lungo abito e largo ; c aotto qucllo 
Attossicato avea sempre il colteJIa/' 

And Ort. Fuf. xiv, st. 91 : — 

"Bench* soglia la Fraude esser bugiarda. 
Pur ft tanto il suo dir simile al vero, 
Che I'Angelo Ic credc." 

Proda il (or frnde^ as in Inf. il, 103, iifda stands for todt : — 
"... Beatrice, loda di Dio vera." 
*arrivd fa U^ttr t. il busto : Arrivart (derived from adripan) in 

in itft primary sense a verb active signif^finK, to conduct, to 

bring, St boat Up to the bank. The verb is more generally used 

in the neuter icnne, " to arrive," 


Canloxvii, Rt^in^s on the Inferno. 5 

asfol]oft"s: '* And mark here, that Geryon, when 
drawn by VirgiJ with the cordi had not come to the 
fund precisely at the mouth of the river, alongwhich 
'he Poets had comeirt a straight line, but had put in 
a little further off to the right, at the margin of the 
[fcank which fences in the Circle running right round 

Having spoken of the general appearance of the 
monster, Dante now describes more precisely his 
[Comptex shape. 

La faccia sua era, faccia d^ uom gius^to; 10 

Tanlo benign^ avea di fuor La pelle,* 
E d' un serpente tutto V altro fusto. 

Due branchc avca pilose inttn I' asceJle: 

Lo dosso e U petto ed ambo e due le cosle 
Dipinte avea di nodi e di rotelle.f 15 

ItB Cace was the face of an upright man — so be- 
nignant an appearance bore it outwardly — and all 
the rest of its trunk was that of a serpent. It had 
(wo paws shaf;;:gy as far as the armpits: its back 
and its breast and both its sides were painted with 
knotted coils and Bmail bucklers 

The knotted coils denote the entanglement of 
JS in which Fraud seeks to involve its victims, 

*PtIk i« here used in one of its subsidiary significations of 
i^nblAncc, appearance.'* See Gran Dhwnariu, s.v. pclU^ 
. wbcfc the present passage is cited as an itluatra-tiDn : 
EUl. (1^. metaphorically! Scttibianxyt, appun/ixa." Compare 
> the following passage from the CWii^Kini //^i Sunti Padri, 
15, in the modern Svo cdjlion published at Lucca by 
1S54 : " Sotto pclie di vtrtude mcna a' vizii." 
^ictXr dipintt . . . di rottlie : Compare Ariosto. Or!. Fur, 

" Bntrd MaHisa s* un dcatncr kardo, 

TuUo sparso di macchic e di rntcUc." 

6 Readings on ike Inferno, Canto XVik 

the small bucklers which warriors use to guard their 
heads, serve Fraud to conceal its guilty purposes. 
Benvenuto Ejays that Dante, being now desirous of 
expressing the infinite varieties and shades of Fraud, 
shows that he cannot find any comparison suitable 
to the subject, for there is no cloth woven that 
exactly resembles the variegated colours of the skin 
of this monster ; so he goes on to show that the 
most intricate and elaborate embroidery known to 
man would fall short of what he wishes to describe. 
Can p]£k color,'"' sommesse e soprappoatCt 

* Con piA color, ct Rcq. : Rosaetti (Camtnto Analiticit) says thai 
ii sommtssf are the threads which form the ground-work of the 
cloth; U soprapposif. are those which arc ov^erlald as relief. 
Both Tartars and Turks were famouH for their weaving in the 
time of Dantt. Arachnc was ihe famous weaver of Lydia. 
She was (urncd mUo a spider by Minerva, whom she had 
flo^uled- This passage has ^ivcn rise to a good deal o{ discus- 
sion. Blanc {Sag^io,Y'' '^9) observes that there are two princi- 
pal questions in i( to decide, whether to read mai drappo (as ] 
follow the Oxford text in doing), or mai in drappo, and how one 
is to understand sommissn and soprapposte. If one reads in 
lira^^i^, both the construction and Che explanation are easy: 
"Neither Tartars nor Turks evt-r unade in cloth, ground-work 
or overUid-work with so many colours," But if with all the 
more ancient editions, the Codex Vtitii:anus, Boccaccio,, Ben- 
venuto, Buti, and in our own times Witte^ one reads mat 
(trappo, the explanation becomes far more diHtcuIt, Scartazzini 
gives the construction as follows: "Tartari n^ Turchi non 
lecero mai drappo con piCl colori (con piij) sommesse e (con 
pi£ki soprapposte.*' That is the construction 1 have adopted, 
and is that given by Foscnlo and Becchi, though Blanc doe« 
not hke the words cohri, iomm^sif and soprapposU being taken 
aa three aubstanlives, for he thinks that by such construction 
the preciseness of the expression loses force. He prefers the 
reading in the Mantua edition : " Cott pit) €okrr somtttessi e soprap- 
Potttt' taking these two latter words as adjectives, in the mascu- 
line form agreeing with rolori. Thii termination of the second 
epithet in e i^^ supposed to be an irregular masculine form like 
trfiiar^hi: iottrfsiarchi. In an article published in the Rontama, 

Canto xvii. Readings m ike Inferno. 

Non f^fir mai drappo Tartari ni Turchi, 
N4 fur tai Icle per Aragne imposle. 

nil, 560-6^, Dr. Paget Toynbee says: '*The Tartar dotha 

■ ■ • vrtrc so called^ not because they were made in Tartary, 
hut because they were brought from China and its borders 
through the Tartar dominions. The term in the Middle Ages 
appears to have been used generally of all rich stufTs of 
OKcntal origin." Dr, Toynbee Chinks that dcsiKOs of various 
colours were woven into a very fine material on the looiBj the 
UBfWfiiti being the ground-work, and the soprapposta the design. 
Al(iicr<^uotiii^ several very apposite illustrations from thirteenth 
Century writers, English, French and Italian, Dr. Toynbee con- 
cludes: "It 18 abundantly evident from the foregoing examples, 
'li <it which but one belong to the thirteenth or fourteenth 
Knturies, that Dante was referring to objects perfectly familiar 
tc hia contemporarie^i when he compared the painted skin of 
^tczza tmtt^iiu di froda to the brilliant colouring of the drappi 

II is at this point that Boccaccio's O-immcntary unfortu- 
nttrly com<s to an end, br<;aking ofiT abruptly in the middle of 
tfic following stnlcnCe : "Can piu rotor sommrsse c soprapposU, 
I vAriMxtone delT omamento, Non fer mat drappi Tartari ne 
funhi, i quali di ci6 aono ottimi maestri, siccome noi possiamo 
inifcKtamcnte vedcre ne' drappi tartareschi, i quali veramente 
I fil artificiosamente tessuti, che non i alcun dipintore che 
pennetio ^li sapcs^e far simigliantij non che pit) belli, 
no i Tartari. . . ." 
[There is, as Dr. Toynbee remarks, a pathetic intereat in 
linri, as they were the last words Boccaccio ever wrote, 
the preface to hia Camenttt we read that Messcr Giovanni 
ccaci:io) began these lectures when he was old and inBirm,^ 
deference to the wish of hi& fellow-citizens, but that an 
n-)oux death extinguished him when he was only at the be* 
nnmg of Canto xvii. Our readers, as we have before re- 
arkcd, must not think of the Boccaccio who wrote the grave 
td learned Comrnki on Dante's tnftrno as the light and 
|io«s novelist whom the world knows chiefly from his 
7Rf written in his early life, but repented of during long 
_^<xf contrition and penance. He died reverenced by all 
tbeit men of his time. Let Oxford men remember that one 
who in early life was rescued from the snares of the " Hell 
Club," died as one of the most saintly men of the nine- 
enih century, the revered Bishop Heber. 
'May not these so-called "Tart»r Cloths'' be simply what we 
a« " Turkey Carpets " ? 

8 Readings oit the Inferno. Canto xvil. 

Neither Tartars nor Turks ever wove cloth with 
more colours (with more) groundwork, and (with 
more) overlaid embroidery, nor were such stuffs 
ever laid (on the loom) by Arachne. 

Having spoken of Geryon's body, Dante now^ by 
a double companson, describes his attitude on the 
verge of the Abyss. 

Come ta.1 volta statino & riva i burchi,* 

Che parte sono in acqua e parte in tcrraj 20 

E come 1^ tra li Tcdcschl lurchi t 

Lo bevero | s* assetta a far sua guerra ; 

*burchir "Qucsta £ una specie di navigli che si tirano mc2xi 
in terra, e I' ahra met& sta in acqua, quando nan si naviga." 
(Giov. Villani, xi, cap. 66), The same chronicle describes how 
the dying Paduan leader Piero Rosso was brought back to 
Padua in a flat-bottomed boat after being mortally wounded 
In the fosse of the castle of Monselice in ^nj: ^' Mcsscr 
Piero . . . per li suoi tratto del fosso fu portato per lo canale 
in burchio ... a Padova." The Vorabolario delta Crusca says 
burckio is the same as the Latin scaphu, and the Greek it«(J(^^. 

fTedischi htrchi : Scarta^iini, after quoting a saying of 
Tacllus. that the Germans were dediti somna ciboque^ says that}ly D^ntc is here alluding to a stratagem practised by 
Farittata degli Uberti in 1259 lo i^ecure the active cooperation 
of Manfred against the Florentine Guelph:s, who were threaten- 
ing the Ghibellines in Siena, Manfred, though appealed to by 
them For help, had only sent one hundred German men-at*^arms, 
but with his standard, The Ghibellines would have refused 
this puny assistance^ but Farinata turned it to good account, 
by gorging the Germans with meat and so inflamingthcm with 
wine, that they went forth and in a foolhardy manner attacked 
the Guelphs, by whom they were all i^lain, and Manfred's 
banni-r taken and dragged in the dust to Florence, Farinata 
took care to inform Manfred of the insult nlTered by the Flor- 
entines to his royal standard, and the irate monarch instantly 
sent a large force, which materially contributed to the sueccas 
of the Ghibelline arms at the battle o( Monlapcrti. 

1 bfvtrn ; Pietro di Dante citea, what was the popular belief 
in his father's time, that the animal called the beaver (iit'dro) 
ftshei* with his tail by submerging it in the water and agitating 
it^ whereby it exudes an oleaginous matter which attracts the 



■ ^Canloxvu. Readings oh the Inferno. $ ^^| 

^^L Coai la fiera pc^ima bi stava ^^H 
^H Suir orlo che^ di pietra, JI aabbion scrra,*^ ^^H 
^H Ncl vano tutta sua coda guiz^ava, 35 ^^H 
^^^^_^ Torccndo in su la vencnflsa forca, ^^^| 
^^^^P Che a guisa. di scorpion la punta armava. ^^H 

^H As at times (he skiffs lie along the bank, which ^^H 

^V SfC partly in the water and partly on shofe, and as ^^H 

r jondef among: the gluttonous Germans the beaver ^^| 

adjusts himself to wai^e his war («.«. to catch his ^^H 

prey with his tail in the water) ; so was this most ^^H 

evil wild beast resting upon the edge, which being ^^^ 

fif stone, fences in the sand. The whole of its ^^H 

^K tail was writhing in the void, twisting on high the ^^H 

^H venomous fork which in guise of a scorpion armed ^^H 

^H the point (of It). ^^H 

^^V), and it Chen turns quicltly round and catches them. And ^^H 
^^piiiim I'pper Germany, amon^ the j^reedy Teutons («f hoc ^^H 
^^^\* AUmanfiia iupiriori^ inttr Theuiotticos lurcost idest golosos)> ^^H 
^Bot as the beaver is not a fish-cadng animal^ only feeding on ^^H 
^^pMi and fruits, cspeciaUy on the water-lily (Nttphar iHUHm), ^^H 
^^■iiprobabic that Dante may have confused the attitude of ^^H 
^^wl>cavcr with the habits and diet nf the otter. Benvenuto ^^^| 
^^Vxrvc!^ that beavers abounded in hia time on the banks of ^^H 
^^■e Danube, although it was not necessary to ga so far, as ^^H 
^^■cy were also to he found in Italy not far from Fcrrara, tn ^^H 
^^Bk tcmton' of the Marquc&scs of Est?, ^^H 
^H Dr. Moore points out to me that in Murray's Dictionary, b.v. ^^H 
^MMfrr. it IB said that "Badger^' is used wrongly among the ^^H 
HHd writers both for "Beaver," and *^ Otter." If so, Dante is ^^M 
^Hm iJone in the confusion. ^^H 
*(&r, iti pictra, il sabbitm serra : Pietra refera to the passeggiati ^^H 
^^mw, 1. 1. Compare Purg. x, 30:— ^^H 
^^B " Che, dritta. di salita aveva manco,'* ^^H 
^^Bich Dr. Moore (Text, CriL pp. 386-88,1 paraphrases thus : ^^H 
^^Bhe. a cagione dell' e^ser diritta, aveva mancanza di ■alita/' ^^H 

^^^K "Che, inannellata pn'a, ^^H 
^^^P^P DispoBato m' avea/* ^^^H 
^^prwrg. xjti, 89 :— ^^M 
^P "Che, Tolosano, a si mi trapse Roma." ^^M 
^nie present passage is also quoted as an apt illustration of ^^H 
tfae*0ffirwh<t unusual construction. ^^H 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xvi^ 

Benvenuto says that Geryon's tail was preparin 
itself to wound, as does a scorpion ; for a scorpion 
'* will come to meet thee with open claws^ and with 
its tail behind it will sting thee." 

Dante and Virgil have up to now been walking 
straight across the Circle on the causeway that 
skirts the Phlegethon, and they must have been on 
the right bank^ because, as they are now to turn to 
the right, they could not have done so had they been 
on the left bank. They must have been standing 
upon a spot where the causeway abruptly terminates 
on the verge of the Great Abyss. The river is on 
their left, the Abyss in front of them. The cause- 
ways on either side of the river must have been 
slightly elevated above the margin that ran round 
the rim of the Abyss, because Dante says (1. 31) that 
they descended, and therefore, as they stand at the 
place where the causeway terminates, they must be 
able to see Geryon below them to their right. 

Virgil conducts Dante to Geryon. 

Lo Duca diise: — "Orconvien che ai torcfl 
La nostra via un poco inlino a quella 
Hestia malvagta chc coli si corca." — 30 

PcrA sccndcmmo alia deatra mam me 1 1 a,* 

* alia des-tra mammtila : Twice during their passage through 
Hell do the Pads make an exeeplion by turning to the right. 
The first lime was after they had entered into the City of Dia, 
and were approaching the hery tombs of the HcreticE^, see /r/. 
ix, 132, 133:— 

" E poi ch' aJla man desLra &i fu volto, 

Passammo tra i martin c gli aiti spaldi." 

'See aUo coloured plan of ihc Inferno and the Itinerary of 

Dante, vol. i, p. i. The second occasion is that described in 

the present passage, when they are approaching [*raud. Scar- 

tAKzini points out that both Hereny and Fraud make use of 

^Canto XVII. Readings on the Inferna. 

E dieci passj ''' fcmma in sullo stremo, 
Per ben ces:sar t la rena e la fiaminetia : \ 


faJft« words as their principal weapon, and the turning to the 
right maybe taken as a symbol of uprightness, Joyalty, and 
tmccrityt which are the best weapons where%s'ith to encounter 
Vnbclief and Fraud. 

*4uci passi : Perhaps the word Un is used here in its mystic 
BCD«e AS the perfact number^ as in Putg, xxix. So, Si :— 
' «, quanta aJ mio avviso, 
Died passi di&tavan quci di fuori.*" 

4 cAMf ' There arc many significations of this word besides 
thAl af "'to cease, to desist/' In the Vocaholario ddla Crusca, 
a.v, ctssart, IS xiv. the sense is given to it of "i/Ujfg'jVf, ichi/are, 
acanisfi, atlontanare, Lat. eviiart." In /n/. xtx, 49-51 , we find 
aaare with the sense of ^*to defer'': — 

k" Id stava come il frate che confessa 
Ld pcrUdo assassin, chc poi ch' £ fitio, 
Kichiama lui, per che Ea morte cessa." 
[bicuttse thereby he defcn his deaik]. 
CofnfMirc also Par. x%v^ ^33-135 where cessar ts used to signify 
"to avoid"; — 

** SI come, per cessar fatica o rischio, 

Li remi pria neJT acqua ripercossi 
Tulti ai posan al sonar d' un ftschto." 
The Suiifhealimif followed by FraticeUi, Tcads per hm cansar Ut 
Itajiamnuiia : Blanc (Saggio^ on tnf, it, 55) also speaks of 
his passage, and thinks la Jiatniwlta stands for k jiammdh. 
otnparc Vila Nuava, § xxiij, in the Canzone. Donna Pirto^a, 
49, 50<ar 176. 177):— 

*• Poi mi parve vedcre appoco appoco 
Turbar lo Sole ed apparir la sUUa** 
whicbi FraticclLi ^ays in a note^ stands for le steiU, or for it cid 
Ulaio. So also in the Cont'tJo, iii, in the Canzone Atnor,€kt 
uiLi mente mi ra^ionti, II. 76-79 :— 

" Tu «ai che *) ciel sempr' 4 lucentc e chiaro, 
E quanto in se non si lurha giamniai: 
~Ma |i nostr' occhi per cagiont assai 
Chiaman la stdia talor tenebrosa," 
tboagh this instance is of more doubtful meaning, Compare 
tholnf. ii, 53: — 

•■ Lucevan gli occhi buoj piii che la Stella,*' 
Tins Scartazrini interpretii as meaning '* le steLle in generale." 

IS Readings ott the Inferno. Canto xvii- 

My Leader said : " Now it is necessary that our 
way Ejliould bend somewhat, as far as that evil 
beast that is Cfouching yonder." Therefore we 
descended to the right {iil. on the right breast)* 
and stepped ten paces along the extreme ver^e, 
so as completely to avoid the sand and the flakes 
of fire- 

Benvenuto points out that the inner rim of the 
Circle of the Violent, which runs like a stone coping 
round the Great Abyss, seems to have been exempt 
from the action of the flames, in the same way as 
were the dikes on either side of the Phlegethon. 

In Division 11, we learn how Dante catches sight 
of the Usurers^ who are the Violent against Art, and 
how Virg;il encourages him to accost them. 

E quando noi a lei vrnuti semo, 

Poco pi^ oltrc vcggio in bulla rena. jj 

Gente seder propinqua al loco scemo.* 

Qyiv) il Maestro :^-**Acciocch6 tutta piena 
Eapcnenza d* esto giron porti," — 
Mi disse,— " vHj e vedi la lor mena. t 

* propinqutt ai loco stetiw : Usury is represented as in prox- 
im ty to Fraud, into the Circles of which Dante is about to 
descend, there being i*d much analogy between the two. 

The primary meaning of the adif^ctive si:(mu is that which is 
etnptv after bein^ full, and is sand of a vessel <r/rf m^iaca i» 
quak'he parte tielh pient^sa di prima. Buti says of ioco scemo in 
the present passage "cio£ all' orto dettodi sopra, dopo il quale 
era vuolo." Compare Pur^, vii, 65 :^ 

"Quand' io m' accorsi chc il montc era scemo." 

[1,*, hoUoved-out.l 

fmetta: Some think this refera to the contortions of the 
Usurers described in Ih 47-51 ; bul Gelll gives ihe ri^ht ex- 
planation : " cioi^ qual fusse la lor aorle e il loro stato; che 
cos! atgniflca que&ta voce, usata in quesCa Tnanitra." Bor^hini 
(in Studs sulU Divtna Commcdia^ p. 260) saya: '•Attrove usa 
[Dante] quests voce e nel medewma modo, e oltrt aulori 

C^mo XVII. Hemdin^i on the Inferno. 


Li tuoi n§ioniuncntt sian Jik corti : 40 

Mentrc chc torni parlero con quests, 
Che ne conccda i suoi omeri forii."^ 

And when we were come to him (Geryon), I saw, a 
litlJe farther on, people sitttng: on the sand close 
to the empty space. Here my Master said to me : 
**In order that thou maycst carry away a full ex- 
perience of this Round, go now, and see their 
coadition. Let thy discourse out there be brief: 
untM thou Tctumest I will speak with this creature 
lh4t it may vouchsafe ub its strong shoulders.'* 

Henvcnuto remarks that in good sooth Geryon had 
strong shoulders, as the whole world is founded upon 
fe^ud, and we know from what was said in the open- 
ing lines of this Canto, €>f his mighty power being 
ible to overcome and break down all obstacles. 

Dante now moves away from Virgil, and ap- 
ptt'aches the Usurers, whose torment appears to be 
i^rly unendurable. 

Cofli ancor * su per {a tftvema testa 

I'Tori ; e qocllo chc si dicano i franchcschi [vhafevrr claim to 
** Bwrf tkt Frtnch may lay], la voce i moHo nostra [i.e. Tus- 
Qn); e non tdo! dir gisH^ ma diremo noi lo atato c quality 
l«T»." Compare /«/. xxiv, 82, 83 : — 
•■ E vidivi entrn terribile stipa 

Dt serpentif e di b\ divena mena/' 

[sueh varieiy of spttits^l 
*«K«r: The meaning of niffor seems doubtful here. Some 
lltiiik it Tcfert to Dante being tifiw tcfl ta gd alone for the 
mcockS Itinc^ as before at the gttes of Dts ; but the generally 
|lrceivcd mtrrpretation is that Dante^ having already visited 
Violent aj^ainst God and the Violent ag^ainst Nature, nnw 
te yet ttnolhrr cla»8. namely, the Violent against Art. 
remarks that at the gatca of Dis it was Virgil whrt 
^*t>ante, and went no fu forward that Dante could not 
hia convcrsalion with the Dcmotia. Now it iii Dante 
«4a qaits Virgil, and goes ao tar away that he docs not over- 
bear what pjiBvea between Virgil and Gerynn. 

Readings on the Inferno, Canto xV**" 

Di quel aettimo cerchio tutto solo 
Andai^ ove scdca la gente mesta. 

Per gJi occhi fuon scoppiava lor duolo : 
Di qua, di \k soccorrien * con le mani, 
Quando a' vapnri, c quando al caldo sunlo. t 

Non altTimenti. fan di state i cani,^ 

Or col ccffo or col pi6, quando son morsi 
O da puici D da nmosche o da tafani, ^ . 

Thus yet another time upon the extreme boundary 
{lit. head) of that Seventh Circle all alone I went 
to where the sorrowful people were sitting. Their 
grief was gushing forth from their eyes : now on 
one Eide^ now on the other, they defended them- 
selves with their hands, sometimes from the Hames, 

*spccorrien : The Gran Diitonario quoies the present passage 
as a not common use of soffor^-^M with the sense of '^to shelter, 
to defend, oneself {far rtparo)." Compare Petrarch, Part 11|' 
Cans, viii, st- i :— 

" Vergine, s' a mercede ' 

Miseria estrema dell' umane cose 
Giammai ti volse^ a! mio prego t' inchina ; 
Soccorri alia mia guerra. 
Bench' i' sia terra, e tu del cicl regina." 
tThis well expresses the convulsive movements of the wjf-i 
ferers uncea&ing;1y warding off the flames, or raising themselves ' 
from the ground to escape the contact of their bodies with the 
fier^' sand. 

I cant : Compare Ariosto^ OrL Fur, x, at. 103 ; — 
"^^ Sim,il battaglia fa la mosca audace 

Contro it mastin ncl polveroso Agosto, 
O nel mcHc djnanxit o nel seguace, 
L' uno di spiche e T altro pien di mosto : 
Negti occhi il punge e nel grifo mofdacc ; 
VoiagJi intorcio, e gli sta semprc accosto. 
B quel suonar fa spesno il dentc a&ciutto ; 
Ma un tratto che ^It arrivi, appaga il tutto.'* 
^ta/ani : Gadflies, the popular name of certain flies which 
goad or stiP!^ domestic animals, as a brce/e. brccze-fly, or 
horse-fly^ They are longer than the common fly* very active 
and blnod-thirsty^ their bite is deep and painful^ although not 


tntoxvii. Readings on the Inferno, 


and sometimes from the heated ground. Not 
otherwise do the dogs in summer, now with snout, 
now with paws, when they are bitten by fleas, or 

EAies, or gadflies. 
I Dante has now reached the spot where the Usurers 
ire sitting in torment. He cannot recognise any of 
their faces, but his attention is caught by their 
wmorial bearings, stamped upon certain scrips or 
jiurses round their necks, Gelli sa\ s the meaning of 
this is that usurers have no parts or qualities by 
which they arc known or esteemed among men, 
except the treasure they possess, or their lineage, if 
ihcy are of a noble family, and that is why their 
I eyes arc gloating so eagerly upon the purses. He 
Htiitrtks, however^ thdt Dante introduced the circum- 
^■pUTice of the colours of the arms as a kind of hint 
^Rd his countrymen to pay greater regard to accuracy 
Kl heraldry, which in his time was most carelessly 
^■Rccuted in Italy, whereas in Germany and France, 
^Hnd all other countries where chivalry' was prized, 
lir greater attention was paid to it 

Poi che nel viso a ccrti gli occhi porsi,* 
Nc' quail il doloroso Toco casca, 
Non ne conobbi alcun ; + ma io m* accorsi 

*fAi «cJk> pent: Compare Petrarch, Part I, Sonwt cxii {in 
ittiitions 130), 3, 4:— 

*~ Ncl fondo del mio cor gti occhi tuoi porgi 
A te pftlese. a tutf altrl coverto." 
I «JiJ., Trionfo ddla Fuma, cap, u 22, 23 : — 

" Da man destra, ove Kti occhi prima porsi. 
La bella Donna avca Cesarc c Scipio," 
\M0m me <im^hh$ akun : Compare In/. v\]t> 49-54, where Dante 
»h ■ inise any anion); the Misers and Prodigals:— 

Maestro, tra qucsti cotah 
Uevre' io ben riconoscere alcuni 
Che furo immondi di cotestii tnali/ 

$6 Readings on the Inferno, Canto xvii- 

Che dal coMo a cia&cun pcndea una tasca, 
Che avea. Ccrto colore e certo segno, 
E quindi par che II loro occhio si pasca.* 

E com^ io riguardando tra lor vegno, 
In una borsa gialla vidi azzurro^f 
Che d' un leone avea faccia e contcgnO^ 

Poi prueedcndo di mio sguardo il curro, 
Vidinc un" altra come sangue rossa 
Moatrare un' oca bianca | piu che burro. 

After that 1 had directed my eyes on the face of 
certain of those upon whom the grievous hre falls, 
I did not recognise any ojie of them; but I noticed 
that from the neck of each was suspended a pouch 
which bore a certain colour and a certain cogniz- 
ance, and on this it fieems that their eyes arc feast- 
ing. And as 1 come among them looking, on a 
scrip Or t saw Azure that bore the face and sem- 

Ed egli a me: 'Vano pensicro aduni ; 
La sconoscentc vita che i fe' sozxi, 
Ad ogni conoscen^a or li fa brum. " 
Com pare jPkj-^. xix, 72-126, where the Avaricious are punished 
in such a way as to make them unrcco^niaabte> The same 
might be said of the Simoniats in Inf. xlx 

* E quittdi . . . il loro occhio si pasca : Compare LuJtr xii, 34: 
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.** 
And EccUs. iv, S: "Neither is his eye satisfied with riches.*' 
Pietro dl Dante quotes Horace, 1 Epist. i, 53-56:— 
"O civcs^ cives, quacrenda pccunia primum est; 
Virtus post nummos. Haec Janus summus ah imo 
Prodocct. haec rccinunt juvenea Hictata senesque 
L-aevo suspcnsi loculos. tabulamque laccrto." 
^ giallA . . . azsurrc : Lana says: "This device of a liof* ] 
Azure on a held Or is the escutcheon of the GianfigUazzi of J 
Florence, who are very s^eat usurers*' They must therefore 
have been contemporaries of Lana : a fact borne out by Giov. 
Villanl, who (book xii, cap. 3^ show^ that they were still alive 
in Lana's time. Lord Vernon {irt/crno^ voL ii« p- 487) gives ai 
futi account of the lineaj^e or the Gianti^Uazzi. 

Xsanguc 'Oisa . . . Qca hian^a : Lana says; " A fiooseHrgTH* 
on a field GhJV-i ]« the escutcheon of the Ubbriacchi of Florence) 
who likewise h^vt ban great usurers," 

ito XVII. Readings on the Infimo. 


blancc of a lion. Then as the course of my look 
proceeded further, I saw another of them red as 
blood display a goose whiter than butter. 

Oanie is now addressed by one of the shades, who 
Jells him thai he was a native of Padua, and who, 
the heraldic device on his pouch, is generally 
on^idcrcd to be the shade of Re^inaldo or Rinaldo 
'4c' Scrovigni. Seeing that Dame will return to the 
world, he particularly calls his attention to the fact 
that there are two usurers still living, namely, 
Vitatiano at Padua, and Buiamonte at Florence, 
wlvD arc predestined to the same torment, and who 
fat iiurpass himself and his companions in guilt. 

He probably wishes to minimise in Dante's eyes 
tHe shame of being the only Paduan there, by telling 
l^inthat there 14 another vet to come. 

Ed un, che d' una. scrofa azzurra e grossa 
Scgnato avcfi Lo suo sacchctto bianco, 
Mi dissc :— " Che fai tu in questa fussa ?* 

Or tc ne va, ; e percbe se' vivo anco, 
Sappi che il mio vicin f Vitaliano 
Sederi qui da) mio sinistra fianco. 


^fwil* fptta : Dante means by this the whole Abyss of Hell, 
y^ tome have contended that the shade meant "What 
*»iQets have you, who were not a Usurer, in this Round }" 

■♦iirtm: Both Blanc (Iflc. DanQ> and Tommas^o (Gran 
£j^BMrw) inlerprct vian in thii? passage as ''fellow-citiien," 
^^^ tttfiu. The Gran Dizhnario quotes the following pas- 
'■ps ID which cvini has this meaning: The present passage; 
'Wj. xi, 140; Par, «vi, 1^4,^ 155; and Par. xvii, y;. Petrarch 
•*•• iuc« the word in the same sense in Part IV, Son. ix (in 
Keditiana Vsit [, Son. -ji): — 

"* Piuigan le rime anear, pian^ado i versi, 

irerchd '1 nostro amoroso mcsserCino 
Novellamente 1' i d.t noi partito. 
PUnj^a I'l^loid. e i citta 'in pervcrni. 
Clie pcrdut' hanno si doJcc vitino." 
II. B 

i8 Readings on the Inferno, Canto xvit. 

Con quei]li Fiorentin son Padovana ; 

Spesse flate m' intronan gli orecchif 
Gfidando; * Vegna M cavalier soprano,* 

Che fcahef^ la tascd con tre becchi,' ** t 
Qui distorse la bocca,^ c dt fuor tra&sc 
La lingua, come il bue che il naso Iccchi. 

*soprano iot sovrano. Compare inf. xxii, 85, 87: — 
". . . c negli altri offizi anche 
Baratticr fu non picciol, ma soprano.'* 
Compare // NovtUino (cd. Barbara, Flortnce^ iSSg), p, 80 : ** ed 
aveane uno [fatconc] molto sovrano, cto^, prcgcvole aoprft 

t AfffA* ; The person alluded to as the prince of usurers^ and 
whose scrip bore the device of three bccchij seems to have bcca 
Giovanni Buiamonte of Florence, who was living there in 
ijoo. Unsurpassed as a usurer, he eventually died in complete 
poverty. Much controversy has a ri&cn about the word ^fcrAi, 
as it can cither signify " goats" or " beaka." The former in- 
terpretation is favoured by Pietro di Dante and BenvcnuKk, 
whereas Lana, Buti, and others take if to mean three ^'eagles 
beaks^*' which latter is prahably the more correct interpretation,. 
The Anonimo Fiorentino says that Buiamonte's arms were, on 
a yellow field three black bKcki^ one above the other, paaani, 
like the leopards that are in the arms of the King of England. 
Lord Vernon {In/ema^ vol. iJ, p. 433) gives a reproduction, of 
this shield taken from the Archives of Flofence. The hucMl 
upon it are ea^^les' beaks, two above and one underneath. He 
Bays the family of the Buiamonti had the lordship of Torre 
Becchi, a strong place in the terintory of Florence. The family 
still retain the name De' Becchi, Buiamontedi Mcsacr Rota, 
a distinguished Ciuclph, with his three sons took part in t! 
disastrous battle of Montaperti. Giovanni Buiamontc 13 sup* 
posed to have been another a.on of the above. He was Gon^- 
lonierc of Justice in 1293, and his palaces were destroyed m 
the great nre in 13014, which was kindled by the trcachcrv o| 
Neri degli Abati. 

I diitont la bocca, et seq^ : Dante has here evidently imitated 
Isaiah WVu 4 : '* Super quern dilatastis os, et ejecislis linguam ? * 
Dr. Nfoorc (Studies, i, p. 77) says it is rather a reminiscence 
than a quotation. Scartazzini suggests the probable imitation 
of these word:^ of liatah in support of bocra as against the 
variant /ttr^id Blanc remarks that the antiquity in Italy of 
making faces by way of insult ia shown in the following lines of 


Qto X\1L Readings vn the Inferno. ig 

And one, who had his scrip Argent emblazoned 
with a sow in brood Asure, said to me: " W^hat 
doest thou here in this Abyss (r>, in HeU). Now 
get thee gone : and since thou art stilt alive* 
know that iny fellow-citizen Vitaliano shall sit 
here on my left s-de. Among these Florentines 
am La Paduan ; oft-times do they deafen mine 
ears» shouting : ' Lei the sovereign knight (/.a 
the prince of usurers) come, who will bring the 
pouch with the three beaks. ' " Here he pursed 
up his mouth, and thrust out his tongue, like an 
ox that licks its nose. 

Lana says that the sow Azure is girded Gules on 
a field Argent^ and adds that the arms are those of 
Ibe Scfovigni of Padua, "who," he says, " ar£ like- 
very great usurers." Reginaldo (or Rinaldo) 
e* Scrovigni was possessed of immense wealth, with 
an insatiable hunger for more. At the moment of 
is death (before ijoo) he cried out : " Give me the 
^■s of my stroni^; box, so that no one shall be able 
to take my money." 

Vitaliano del Dente was supposed by the older 
Commentators to be the person referred to by Scro- 
ngno ; but Emilio Maipurgo (D^h^^^ Padova, p. 213) 
argues that Dante is here alluding to Vitaliano di 
Jitopo Vitaliani, who actually lived as a near neigh- 

{Sat. i, 88-^), which are ulearly identical with the 
\ before us :— 
'''**0 Jane ? a tcrgo quem nulla ciconia pinsit, 
\ec manus auriculas imitftta est mabijis altas. 
Sec linguae, quanlum aitiat qanis Appula, tantum ! " 
also lyivy vii, lo, where the gigantic Gaul puts out hia 
at Manlius TnrquAtii& : ** Armattim adornaiumquc ad^ 
1 Gailuni stolidc laelum et (quoniam id quoque meitiorla 
k ant iquift visum est;linguam etiam abirrisu exercentem. 

B 2 

^H 20 Readings on the Inferno. Canto xvir,l 

^H bour of the Scrovjgni in Padua, which is used as an n 
^^1 argument by those who prefer to translate vicin 
^H "neighbour/' and not, as I follow Blanc and Tonn-I 
^^M mas^o (Grati Dizionario), by " fellow-citizen.'* We n 
^H niay note the tone of exultation with which Scro- 
^H vi|[no predicts that Vitaliano is to sit on his U/t hand, ■ 
^H thereby indicating the latter's greater guilt. m 

^H Division III. — ^Dante has now seen all the punish- 1 
^H ments of Violence in its various kinds, and prepares 1 
^H to quit the Circle, passing down into that part off 
^H Hell where Fraud is chastised. He turns his back 
^H upon the Usurers, and rejoins Virgil whom he finds 
^H waiting him, and already seated upon Geryon's back, , 

^^M Ed 10, tcmendo nol* plt^ atar cruciasse 

^^f Lui che di puco star m^ avea monilo, 

^^H Tnma' mi indietro dalT anime lassc. 

^^V Trovai In Duca mio ch' era salitn 

^^ft Gi^ in su)]a grappa del ficro animale, Ss 

^^H E disse a me : — " Or sii forte cd ardito. 

^^H Omai t St scende per si fatte scale : 

^V * ietHtttdo nci .• Thi« sUnda for knunda np ii, like inf. iUfi 
^m 8o:- 

^^m " Temendo no '1 mio dir gli fusse grave." 
^^M See Gran Dizionario, s.v. No* § ii, where the present pas- 
^^V sage is quoted. The use of non is said to be elJiptical for Cks 
^^M noti. and the authors add : " Qucstti elissi ricorre spesso 
^H neir antiche scritture co' verbi Tenure e DuMiare^ e rispondc 
^H al Ne dti Latini," 

^^M fOtttiii; It will be seen that From this point the Poet) do 
^^M not 5nd any more natural descents into the depths below. 
^^L "^^^y ^^^ carried down into the Eighth Ctrcie \Maleboige) on, 
^^1 (he back of Get^'on ; and when they quit it, the Giant Antaeus 
^^V tifts them down on to the frozen Eurface of Cocytus in the 
^^m Ninth Circle; tbcy make their dniU exit from Hell by clamber* 
^^K ing down the shaggy hide of Lucifer ; then, after passing the 
^^M centre of the Universe in the middle of hia body, they turn 



^^tltoxvn. Readings on the Inferno. 


Monta dinanzi, ch' io voglio cBser mtzto, * 
Si chc la coda non possa far male/^ — 

j\nd 1. fearing lest longer tarrying might displease 
him who had admonished me to tarry but little, 
turned me back from those aHlicted souls. I found 
my Leader, who was already mounted on the 
croup of the fierce animal, and he said Io me: 
*' Now be thou strong and courageous. Hence- 
forth we must descend by stairs of this kind : 
Mount thou in front, for t wish to be between^ so 
that the tail can do (thee) no harm/' 

Il^nvenuto remarks that this last sentence is as 
ough Virgil would say : '* I wish you to sit in the 
sat-ddle of Geryon's back, that you may be in greater 
security, for you do not yet know how to ride such a 
rtced; and I, who am better acquainted with the 
AAture of this false beast, will sit upon his haunch, 
^^ he is like unto the mule, who may be thirty years 
Itfoft be gives a kick, and then will kick you to 
^Ih." Tomraiasfio says that knowledge and up- 

(Itnueh-es upside dawn, and climb up again by the hair on his 
'<Ci, upturned in the athcr hemisphere, until they reach the 
■■ucerrancAn pa!i!iagc leading up to the foot of the^mountain 
Comiwrc also Purg, ii, ^o : — 

"Omai vedrai di si fatti offiriali," 
*me3Uf ; Thi» means mi mez:o [/ra due), the two being. 
Dtole tin the one side (near Geryon's head, a^nd the venomous 
Uil of Cieryon the other. In Purg. xxvil, 32-34, when Virgil ia 
W|iac Daotc to enter boldly into the flames, he says : — 
"Kicordalt, ricordati . . . e, sc io 

Sopr' csso Gcrjon li guidai fralvo 
Chc far6 ora presso piu a L>io P " 
By which Virgil m«rant, that if he had i^uided Dante safely 
Ihnmgh Hell, the place that is furthc'st removed from Gnd; 
hmm much the more will he not conduct hitn in safety, now 
that he ia BO much nearer to Heaven, and to that God Who 
h*4 dcapatchcd Virgil to Dante'* aft&istancc. 


23 Readings on the Inferno. Canto XviL 

lightness interpose between Man and Fraud. Scar- 
ta^^ini prefers to think of Virgil here as the symbol 
of Imperial authority, which protects men, and places 
them in complete security from the fraudulent snareSi. 
of others. 

Dante is terror-struck al Virgirs words, and 
trembles like one sick of the ague. 

Qual e coiuij ch' ha st presso j] ripre^zo * 85 

Ddla quartana, ch' ha gi^ [' unghie smorte, 
E trema tutto pur guardando il rezzo, + 

*riprezzo : The more modern form of this word is nbrtxxo^ 
with the meaning; of "hnrri>r, disjjust " ; hut it is here u-^ed in 
its primary sense of '* the actof shiverinj^, the shlvcring-fit in a 
fever"; and in /"/. xxxii, 70-73, Dante makes it express his 
terror ;— 

" Poscia vid' in mille visi, cagnazzi 

Fatti per freddo : onde mi i.ien riprezjEO^ 
E verri^ sempre^ dc' gelati guazzi. 
Compare also Petrarch, Part ii, Son. 56 (in some editions 

"Qual ha gii J nervi e i polsi c i pervsicr egri 
Cui domestics febbre assalir devc," 

+ nzio : CL aura Ota in Donkin's Eiymologicai Dictionar\\ 
under which head is Sp., Pg., Prov., Khado-Komancc aura ; 
0. Fr. orc^ a brccjtc. from aura ; hence the Pro^-. auraU O. Vt. 
ore; Prov. ttttrat^e ; O. Fr. oragf^ a breeze (lo dom auratget kt 
fer auraige) ; Fr. orage a storm, Sp. oragc ; Sp. orear, Cata- 
Ionian dretjar, 10 refresh, oriso, oretj. It. ore^gio ; Prov. aurti^ a 
gentle gale. From oreggto is to be distinguished Ilal. ttreszo 
nxxo^ a cool shady place, from a form auritium. Bor^hini 
(Studt^ p, 235) points out that r<zso in Tuscany means a place 
shaded from the sun, and that it is a nnarvcUnus property of 
Nature that persons subject to quart-in fi-vcr, when they 
merely lonk at a shady spot and recollect that they used to go 
thithe^r tn ge! coul, have their imaginations so worked upon 
that they bc^in to tremble ; and these are the beautiful and 
artfully contrived passages of this Poem, which ihc com* 
mentators ou^ht to illuslrale, whereas instead they constantly 
confuse them and render them more obscure ( Boi^hini died iii 

Compare mhrfxim in Purg, i, 1%^, 


C^ato XVII. Readings on the Inferno. 33 

rT«l divenn' io alle parole p&rtc : • 
Ma vergogna mj ftr Se sue miriacce.+ 
Che innanzi a buon signor fa liervo forte. 90 

As is he who has the shivering fit of the quartan 
so near, that his nails are already livid, and he 
trembles all qver at the mere sight of the shadc^ 
such became I at the words uttered (by Virgil) ; 
but his rep/oofs aroused in me that shame, which 
in presence of a valiant lord makes a servant bold. 

Though unable to utter a word, Dante takes his 
plsfccc in front of Virgil, who gives the signal for their 

I0 m' ssEcttai in su quelle spallacce : 

— "Si" — {volli dir, ma la voce non vennc 

Com' 10 credttti)— " fa che tu m' abbracce." — \ 
Ida cava cbc altra volta mi sovvennc 

Ad altro for&e,g tosto ch' io montai, 95 

^ faroU p&rte : Compare /«/. ii, 134, 135 : — 
" E tu cortcsc, che ubbidisti tosto 
Alle vcre parole che ti porae ! " 
And /^. V, 108 :— 

'* Qucfcte parole da lor ci fur pArte." 
And /a/!, viii, iti: — 

" Udir nc?n potc' quel ch" a lor aj porse." 

^mimatu : Searlazftni thinks the word must be interpreted 

iBthc ftctiftc (if rtptoo/i, not threats^ and thai the Latin miiiur is 

*i«d to describe the cry of the plftUKbman to urge alon^; hia 

ttscn. Bcnvrnuto remarks of vergogna in thin line, that shame 

at mint potent and eHicacious weapon Ibr converting a timid 

ttiji into a bnld nne, and defeat into victory. He relates an 

Cfiiodc which JaliuB Celaua tellR of Julius Csaar in Gaul, who 

Mttnf a tioldier running away in battle, caught him by the 

ftaac-piecc of his helmet (nasaief, ind led him back into the 

ifht. aayinji; : "The enemy arc in that direction I" 

I Si froWJ Jir . . . )/* cfi£ tu m' ahhracfc : There is some dis- 
crrpftncy an 10 whether Si ib to be taken with volli iftr, or with 
Jdthetm m' afthrufu. Blanc {Saggio' prefers the former, also 
Scarta^xini. 1 follow WJtle and olherK in taking it as ,Si fa 
tJkMf ctc^ ''■o contrive, ao manage." 
|iirf mUroJont : Both Wittc and Blanc prefer this reading 

Readings ofv the Inferno. Canto xvi^ 

Con le braccia m' avvinse e mi sostenm;: 
E diBse:^"Gerion, moviti omai : 

Le rate Urghc/ e lo scender aia poco: 
Pcnsa U nuovB. soma che tu hai."— 

I settled myself down on those repulsive shoulders: 
" Do tbout" I would have said» but my voice did 
not come as I thoughtj ** so manage that thou ctasp 
me in thine arms." But he, who at other times 
had rescued me in other dangers, as soon as I had 
mounted, threw his arms round me and held me 
upt and said: "Move off now, Geryon : let thy 
circles be wide, and thy descent gradual; bethink 
thee of the unusual burden that thou hast." 

We may infer that Geryon was accustomed only 
to carry spirits that were wholly unaffected by any 
unevenness of motion. With a living man upon his 
back more caution was necessary, Benvenuto thinks 
the other occasion of danger alluded to was when 

to ad ahyo forte, or ad atto forU. Dr. Moore (Textual CriticUfH, 
p. 316) says: "The copious list of variants here is very curious, 
and I think eaiiily accounted for by the somewhat unusual 
EubstantivaL use of forsi in the original reading (as I take it 
undoubtedly to have been) aUro/orse." Compare Inf, viii^ 10 '" 

"Cos! gen va, e quivi m' abbandona 

Lo dolce padre, cd io ri manga in forsc." 
And Purg. xxiXj 18: — 

"Tal chc di balenar mi mise in forsc" 
And Par. xn, 40, 41 ; — 

"^Quando lo impcrador che sempre rcj^na, 

Prowide alia milizia ch' era in fnrst." 

And Petrarch, Trion/o ddla Mitrte, cap. i, ler^. 20:^ 

" Tal si fe quella fera : e poi che 'n forse 

Pu stata un poco/' etc. 

* Le rote hrglu ; In Conv, iv. &, IL 187-190+ Dante address 

himself to Charles of Anjou, King of Naplt'H, and Frederick, 

Kin^ of AragoHt as follows: " Meglio sarebbc a voi, come 

rondinc vo^are basso, chc come nibbio alliasimc rote fare sopra 

coac viliasimc/' 


Canto XVII. Readings on the Infertw, 



Danie and Virgil sat together on the back of the 

.Cfntaiar, Others think it must have been when 

Pante was left at the gate of the City of Dis, and 

Virgii after a short absence, returned to his side* 

h might also be when Virgil delivered him from the 

Ilhree beasts on the mountain. 
Gtryon obeys Virgil's order,turns round, and setsoff. 
I Come la navicella* escc del loco 

1 In dittro, in dietro, si quindi si tolse ; 

I E pDi cK' at tutto si senti a giuoco, 

I Li. dov' era il petto, la coda rtvolse, 

I E quella tesa, come anguilla, mossc, 

E con le branchc I' aria a s£ raccolsc. t 
As from its berth a small vessel issues, backing, 
backing', so from that spot moved (Geryon) away; 
and when he felt himself in full play, he curled his 
tail to where his breast had been, and moved it {the 
tail) stfctchcd out like an eel, and with his paws 
be gathered the air to himself. 

This is meant to describe the movements of one 

swimming in the water, adapted to Geryon swimming 

in the air. Benvenuto's idea, however, is that 

Geryon really was in the water of the cataract, and 

takes the words poi eke tutto si senti a gittoco to 




ilU ; Hossetti observes that the vessel is supposed to 
king out of a narrow channel. He points out that the 
nMgery was prepared since the bcf^inning of the Canto, where 
Genron is summoned to come ashore {vtnire a proda) ; and we 
•ft 'old that he docs not draw his tail on to the bank [sitlU 
'■-J i that his position is like that of the flat-bottomed boats 
iftr;ii); and Kofiselti compares his being here spoken of as 
> nsvuflU to the cuclamation from Heaven in Pur^, X)(Xti, 

" O navicclla mitk^ com* mal sei carca 1 " 
Lir htancht i' aria a ai raccotse : Geryon had no win^, but 
I in the Air with his paws. 

Readings cui the In/emv. Canto 

mean postqunfn scnsit sf ioium in aqua, ttbi poteraf 
naiare, ludere, et gitizzare * [quiver] ad modum piscis. 
If Dante's fears were great at having to mount 
upon Geryon's back, they were increased tenfold 
when he found himself in the void of the Abyss* 
moving rapidly in total darkness. He compares his 
terror to that of PhaSton and Icarus, who respectively 
met their deaths by falling down from a great height 
in the air. 

Maggior paura fion credo che fosse, 

Quando FetAn t abbandono h freni, 

Per che i) cie!, come pare ancor, si cosae : J 

^guiszare {and in another MS. of Benvenuto guicciart). 
Donkin (Etymological Dictionary of the Romance I^Hguages, s.v. 
guiizan sguisi^are) derives the word from the German uitsctr 

^Fcton : The story of Phaeton may be read in Ovid, Metam, 
ii» 47-334. The lines to which Dante is especially referring 
are 178-181 :— 

" Ut vero Bummo despcxil ab acthtre terras 

InftHjt Phaelhon, penitos penitusque jaccnles; 

Palluit, ct subito genua intremuere tiniore; 

Suntque cici]]ts tenebrae per tantum Lumen Qbr>rtae> 
lilciei, . . si cossc : This means, "as may still be seen in 
the Milky Way," which Dante calls elsewhere la Gaiussta. 
Compare Comv. ii, is> M- 45-55: '* ^ da sapere che di quclla 
Galassia li li)o<<DEi hanno avuto diverse opinioni. Ch^ ti Pitta- 
[;orici dissero che M sole alcuna fiata crr& nelta sua via, e^ 
pasFiando per altre parti non con^'enienti al suo fervore, arse 
i| luogo, per lo quale pas&6; e rimasevi quell' apparenza 
dell' arsura. E credo che si mosscro dalla favola di Fetonte, 
la quale narra Ovidio nel principle del sccondo di Mtttimor- 
fosas" And ibid. II. 59-6^: ''Quello che Arislolile si diccsse 
di ci6, non si pud bene Bapcre, perch^ la sua sentcnza non si 
tmva cptale nell' una Jraslaiione. come nefl' altra/' But it is 
generally undcrHtood in modern limes that Dante had in his 
mind Aristotle's AfWriira, i, 8 [^3453): "Tah* xakoitfihtiiw nvdiya' 
fHmv ipaai rivis A^\v 9t¥ai i-fn'Tiji'.t 01 pt** r<^> «icir«a'dvTvy rip6r 

Compare also Par, xiv, 97-1)9; — 

"Come distinta da minon e maggi 

Lumi biancheggia tra i poli del mondo 
Galaasia si, che fa dubbiar ben sag^/' etc* 






t^o XVII. Readings on the Inferno, 


N* quando Icaro* mlsero Ic reni 

Scnti spccnar per ia scaldata cera, no 

Gridando \\ padre a lui : — " Mala via ticni," — t 
Che fyi la mia, quando vidi c\\ V era 

Ncir aer d* ogni parte, c vidi spenta 

Ogni vcduta fuor chc dcHa fiera^ 
Greater fear I do not imagine there was, when 
Phaeton abandoned the reins (of the chariot of the 
Sun), whereby the heaven, as is still apparent (in 
the Milky Way) was set on fire : nor when the ill- 
fated Icarus felt his loins becoming unfeathered by 
the heating of the wax (of his artificial wings), 
when his father cried to him : " An ill course thou 
holdest/' than was my (fear), when I saw that I 
was in the air on every side, and saw every sight 
extinguished save that of the beast. 

Dante might well fear lest the fraudulent Geryon 
**\ould treacherously cast him down. He had no 
^au&e to trust him. 

*/Mrtf: Benvenuto thinks the real truth about Daedalus 
*^lu»Kia Icarus to have been that they were making their 
**ca^ in tn'O vessels, each with pitched sails; for he says a 
^vwe] » in truth a wooden bird that has sails instead of wings^ 
*d o«r» in place of feet. H« thinks Icarus probably put too 
vwit lei sea and was capsized. The story is related at length 
^ Orid, Wrttffff. viii, 223-232:— 

"Cum pycT audac) coepit ^audere volatu, 
Dr»rruitque rfucem, coeliquc cupidine tractus 
AlliuK c%\\ Iter. Kapidi vicinia Solis 
Mollit odoratas, pcnnarum vintuU, cerae. 
Tabuerani cerae: nudos quatit ilte lacertns, 
Rcmigioque carcn^ non ullas percipit auras. 
Onque cocrulea, patrium clamantia nomen, 
Exctpiuniur aqua, quae nomcn traxit ab illo- 
At pater jnfelix, nee jam pater, Icare, dixit^ 
Icare, dixit, ubi cfv? qua te rejt;ione requiram ? " 
t Mida via /tmi : See ibid. 205^207 : — 

**lnnniiit ct natum : Mcdloquc ut limite currai, 
Icajc, ait, monco; ne, si demisfiior ibis, 
L'nda gravct pcnnaa; si celiiorf ignis adurat. 
Inter utmmque vola," 

Readings on thi Inferno. Canto xvi 

Geryon's downward movements are exactly i^^ 
accordance with Virgil's injunctions. We shall se^^ 
(in 1. 117) that they were moving not only forwards^ ^ 
by which they had the wind in their faces, but alstC^ 
downwards, by the wind coming up from below ; and^ 
we may infer that as they now come nearer to Male- ^ 
holgc in their descent, their wide g>'rations would 
take them above the whole of its ten valleys, for 
they hear sounds of lamentation on all sides. 

Ella sen va nuotando Icnta Icnta ; 115 

Rota c disccndc, ma non mc n* accargo, 
Se non ch' al viso e disotto mi veiita. 

lo Kntia ^k dalla man destra * il gorgo 
Far sotto noi un orribilc stroscjo ; 
Per chc con i^li occhi in f;iii la testa spnrgo. tzo 

Allor fii" io piiu timidq alio scoscio ;'t 

Pcfocch' io vidi fpchi, I e sentii piantt ; 
Ond* io trem&ndo tutto mi raccoscio. § 

*dalU wan destra: In Geryon's wide g^Tations he would 
have passed in front of the great cascade of the Phlcgethon, 
6D that it is now on the Poets' right hand, whereas, when they 
turned away from it, it had been on their left hand. It will be 
remembered that after walking along the margin of ita right 
bank, they had lurred to their nghl and quitted it; conse- 
quently it was then on their left hand. 

tscosfio ; This word is better known in the adjective derived 
from it, sfosfwo, ^'precipitous." 

X io vidi /ifchi ; If a balloon were to descend at night into the 
Black Counlr\' of Staftbrdshire, the foundries, furnaces and 
ironworks of Wolverhampton, Wednesbury, Dudley, or Brierlcy 
Hill might give the aeronauts some similar ideas. 

^mi rtucoscio : Danlc shrunk back cowering with fright. 
On this passage, buti says : ^'raccoscio^ cio^ tutto mi ristringo 
C risserro It coscie alia ficra." Compare s' accoscia in I«f, 
3(viii, 132, Venturi thinks ratcasiiare is to grip with the thighi^ 
but Di Siena says that is absurd, for this huge monster was 
not like a park hack, on which Dante could mount and sit 
astride, but that the word rather implies a gathering up of the 
JJmb& together. 

CarHoxvil. Rtadings on the Inferno. 


E vidi poi, chA nol vcdea davanti, 

Lo scenderc e il girar, per 11 gran mali 1x5 

Che 5' appressavan da divcrsi canti. 

h (the beast) goes off swimming slowly, slowly; 
wheels and descends, but I perceive it not, save 
that on my face and from below I feel a wind. 
Already I heard on my right hand the whtrlpool 
beneath us making a horrible roar ; whereat t 
stretch out my head with my eyes downwards. 
Then became I more terrified at the precipice : for 
I discerned fires, and heard lamentations; tremb- 
ling whereat I shrink quite up into myself. And 
then I discerned, for I had not discerned them be- 
fore, our descending and circling, by reason of the 
grievous horrors that were getting nearer on every 

By the sounds becoming more audible, Dante 
ouW understand that he was getting lower and 
er down in the Great Abyss, and the changes and 
incXy of the sounds would make him comprehend 
tbat he was passing over places different from each 
other, and that his descent was in wide circles. 

Dante now brings the Canto to a conclusion by 
liltening Geryon's rotatory descent into the bottom 
of the Abyss to that of a falcon^ wearied after an 
unsuccessful flight. 

Come il falcon ch' i: state assai suit' ali, 
Che scnia vcder logoro * o uccello, 

|*iii^im} .- The lure consisted of two wings of a bird attached 
ECtbcr. This wis swung round his head by the falconer to 
cc the hawk back. Sec hgoro in Donkin's EtymoUtgicat 
mary : " Logoro It. (for logrp ?), Prov. hirt (whence 
knm%4T, a saddler, ling, lorimer), O. ¥t. loitre, Fr Uurre (masc), 
~ tur€t prop, a bit of leather used by falconers to lure back 
ks; from Mid. High Germ, luodtr (Germ, ledcr, leather) 
c. It. g for d as in ragunart for radunixre. As a verb, Prov. 
r, Fr. iturrtr, Engl. iur£,aUurt : It. iogorare^ to feast, revel 
\\, G. iuoiitrw.'^ 

Fa dire at falconiere : — "Oim^ tti call ;' 
Diacende lasso onde si move snello, 

Per cento rote, e da lungi si pone 

Dal suo tnaestro, disdegnoso e fello : 
Cos! nc pose al fondo GerTone 

A pi^ a pit: i deIJa stagliata I rocca, 

E discarcaCe )c nostre per&one* 
St dilcgu6,^ come da corda cocca. || 

Even as the falcon which has been tong upon the 
Wing — that without seeing tore or bird, causes the 
falconer to cry : " Ah me ! thou sloopesl : " — de- 
scends weary with many a wheel (to the place) 
whence it is used to rise nimbly, and alights (str 
from its master disdainful and sullen : so at the 
bottom did Qeryon deposit u&, at the very foot of 

*Oimi: tu caii : Buti points out ihaC this ta equivalent to the 
falconer saying that he is vexed if the falcon stoops, and not 
without cause, for it shows the bird is etthcr weak, or wearj', 
or ill-tempered, all of them things which tend to spoil it; 
besides^ the falconer takes nothing that day. 

t A pa a pii : This ii> very tike Inf, xiv, iz : — 

'^Quivi fermammo i psasi a randa a randa.*^ 
Scartazitini interprets this in a curious way, and constructs 
the sentence thus: " Gcryon set us down on our feet (a /^i^) 
at the foot (o pU) of the rugged cliffl" But Dr. Scartarzini was 
rot a Tuscan, and a pii a pii is a Tuscan idiom. Sec Gran 
DixinaariOf s.v. pieJe, ^i6: •* A pi^di & pltdt per tif (no vifiM, 
V ic'tuhsirnu." The present passage is quoted in illustration. 

\ itaj^iiata : The 5 is expressive of the thing being badly 
done; tagliata, cut, hewn ; stagiiaia^ badly cut, coarsely hewn. 

%Si diltgui ; Gcryon'a rapid departure, after setting down 
the Poets, reminds one by contrast of that of lh€ Angel Pilot 
after landing the boat-load of spirits on the sea-shore O'f the 
Island of Purgatory. See Purg, ii, 49-51 : — 
" Poi fece il segno lor di santa croce; 

Ond* ei si gitfdr tutti in suLla piaggia, 
Ed ei sen gi, come venne, veloce." 

Ilrpfrrf is properly the notch of the arrow, and standa 
fnr the arrow itself, as corda stands for the bow \Pari pro loto). 
See In/, xii, 77, and the footnote on it. 

of the 
as here 


ito x\Ti. Readings />h the Infemo. 3: 

the rugged clifT, and, disburdened of our persons, 
sped away IJkc an arrow from a bow. 

This is one of the many illustratians drawn by 
Dante from falconry. Blanc {Saggio) reminds us 
that when the hawk is thrown off at the quarry, it 
darts up into the air with ^eat swiftness, and having 
reached a sul!icient elevation, it flies round in circles 
until it sights its prey {tuuUo)^ or is recalled by the 
fcdconerwith the lure (logon}). But if it sights no 
qaarry^ and is not recalled by the falconer, becoming 
tired, it descends to earth of its own accord in wide 
wheels (dhcfttiie lasso per cento rote), and it lights 
and seats itself far away from its master, disdain- 
ful and sullen. Many of the modern Commentators 
interpret this passage differently, but Blanc, who 
libtlows the old writers, reminds his readers that 
rthey lived in days when they were constantly seeing 
faawking, and were thoroughly acquainted with the 
lerms in use in their time. 



Readings oti the Inferno. 



We left Dante and Virgil at the end of the last Canto. 
having just dismounted from the back of Geryon on 
reaching the bottom of the Great Abyss down which 
he had borne them, They are now in the Eighth 
Circle, known as Malebol^e (lit. evil pouches), from 
its being divided into valleys or chasms in which are 
distributed the shades condemned for ten different 
species of Fraud. The following table gives the 
classification of the sinners^ and shows in what 
Cantos they are respectively described. 


I. Panders and Seducers 


. Kviii. 

H. Flatterers . . . , , xviii, 

III. Simoniata xix. 

IV. Divinera ..... xx, 
V, TrafRckers in Public Offices And 

Corrupt Officials . 
VI. Hypocrites .... 
VIL Robbers . . , . 
VIII. Fraudulent Counsellors 
IX. Disseminators of Strife 
X. Falsifiera And Coiners 

XXI, KXll. 

zxiv, XXV. 
XXVI, xxvii, 
xxviii, xxix. 

xxix^ XXX. 

nto Xvin. Readings on the Inferno. 


These sinners in MaUbol^e^ however, are only pun- 
ished for Fraud where there has been no breach of 
trust. For those whose guilt is deeper^ for the 
traitors who by Fraud have violated trust reposed in 
them, a more terrible fate is reserved. They are 
imbedded in the ice of the frozen lake of Cocytus in 
j the Ninth Circle below* 

L^ Benvenuto divides the Canto into four parts. 
^1 In Division I» from ver. i to ver. 39, Dante first gives 
^ft general description of MaUhoigCy and then relates 
^»hat he saw in the first of its valleys (Bolgia I), 
where the Panders and Seducers have to suffer. 

In Division II, from ver. 40 to ver. 66, he recounts 
his conversation with the shade of Venedico Caccia- 
nimicOv a notorious Pander, and a native of Bolofjna. 
Ifi Division III, from ver. 67 to ver. 99, Virgil points 
out to Dante the shade of Jason punished for Seduc* 

la Division IV, from ver. 100 to ver. I36»we read of 
tfee passage of Dante and Virgil into the Second 
Valley^ wherein they see Flatterers and Parasites. 

Division I. — Dante begins the Canto by a precise 
dttcription of MaUbolgc. On this Benvenuto re- 
marks: *' Now see in what manner he first describes 
the place by a new name, for it has only been recently 
spoken of by the author, never by any one else, and 
it 11 a convenient name. For bolgia* in popular 

*&8^'d: In modern Florentine lanj;aagc bolgia or bof^etta is 

'*^'~"tly a pouch, pocket, wallet answering to ihe French 

^^ Both in the Vocftiwlnrio iiditi Crusca, and by Littf^, the 

> wofils arc made to express the same ihing; namely, a 

Wall o( putich opening longways. la the Vwaifoiario dtllu 

It. L 


Readings on tki Inferno, Canto xvir 

cvir V 

Florentine language, is the same as a concave ca^ 
pacious valley : now this Circle contains in itself many 
valleys, each of which is capable of containing a vastfl 
nuinber of people ; therefore Dante gave it this name 
{Makbalge), and it is a composite noun in the singular 
number. And well is it so called, for whereas alij 
the valleys in Hell are evil (malac), these in MaU^ 
bolge may more especially be so styled." 

Loco & in inferno detto Malcbolge, 
Tutto di pietra e di color ferrigno, 
Come la ccrchia * che d' intorno tl volgc. 

Ncl dritto mezzo del campo maligno 

Vane^gia un pozzo assai larj^o e profondo^t 
Di Lui sitohco J dicero 1' ordigno. 

Quet cinghio chcTimane adunque e tondo, 
Tra il poi^o c il pi^ deli' a.\ta. ripa dura, 
Ed ha distinto in dieci valli it fondo. 


Crusca there is a quotation given from the Italian translation 

of the Golden Ass of Apuleius: " Lucia, piglia la valifjiai e Ic 
boisc di questo ospite," Bdf^e thtrc must mean saddle-baga, 
A Fjort^ntinc once brought me a long pouch which I had asked 
him to make for a special purpose. "Ecco la borghetta!" 
said he, as he came into the room. On my telUng him later 
On, that I had looked unsuccessfully for bt)rghelta in two 
dictionaries, and could not hnd the meaning, he answered i 
**Sa! ^ una parola che si usa tra noi." But a few days after- 
wards he informed mc that he ought to have said bolgetia, the 
same, he added» as bofgui^ the wor.f used by Dante, 

*aTfAirt .* Compart: ctrchu iUrue (I, •txi and see note distin' 
guishing crrcAwi, "enclosure, cflfftH^f,*' from cerchio '"a circle" 
Circhiit here is Ihe stuf^Iiatti niccit (xvii, 134)- 

i profondii t Benvenuto explams this as not referring to th 
depth of the pit below the Eighth Circle, but because: it is 
situated at the extreme bottom of HclL I have therefore 
translated />wj/jnrfo "deep down lin H?]l\" 

I iffo ioco: These worda arc in Latin, probably borrowei 
from th? scholastic Latin. 


uanto xviiU N^adinf^s on the Inferno. 


There is a place in Hell called Mahbolgc, all of 
stone and of the colour of iron, as is also the 
zone (of cliffs) that girds it around. Right in the 
middle of the evil region yawns a pit, exceeding 
broad and deep down (in Hell), the structure of 
which I will relate at its proper place. That en- 
closed space therefore which remains, between the 
Pit and the towering^ cliffs, is circular, and has 
its bottom divided off into ten valleys.* 

To give the exact measurement of the space thus 
scribed is impossible. Several famous geometri- 
ns. such as Manet ti, Galileo, Giambullari ard 
Vellutello* have given their different ideas. I cannot 
pretend to adopt any one of them throughout, but on 
the whole I prefer to lake the calculations of Ales- 
&andro Vellutello (see *' Dimensions of Hell *' in the 
Preliminary Chapter, and Plan of Inferno), Manetti's 
system f has been generally considered good as far 
as the first seven Circles are concerned, but as his 
.Iculations of the Eighth and Ninth Circles are 
very confused, it has been supposed that these latter 
were written by others after his deaths and wrongly 
attributed to him. In the beautiful work by Giovanni 

*1 have adopted the following diatinctive names to avoid 
^eonfuwon in describing the Eighth Circle. 

The BurraiQ (Canlo xvi, 114), down which the Poets are 
imcd by Gciy-nft from the Seventh to the Eighth Circle* I 
have tritnslatcd "the Abyss," and generally speak of as '^the 
TlTt*l Abyss." 
The Poizu (xviii, 5) is iranblaled "the Pit." 
The word Hot^< IS translated, in accordance with Bcn- 
BiRo'ft interpretation^ "^ Valleys.'" 
tThe whole plun of Hell, (is calculated by Manetti, and the 
t»o lecture* in support of it that are attributed to Galilen^ will 
bcioand in Studi xutlu Divina Comtneiiia di GaJiUo GnliUi-, Vvi- 
fBcr/(hini cd aliri^ by Ottavio Gigli, Florence, 1855. 
IL C2 

Readings on the Inferno. 

Agnelli {Topo-Cronografia del Viaggio Dantesco^ Hoe- 
pli, Milan, 1891), the author states that Giambullari* 
constructs his imaginary fabric precisely similar to 
that of Manetti until the descent to MaUbolge, and 
from there to the centre he ingeniously corrects 
Manetti's system. The latter calculated the depth 
of the Great Abyss at 730 miles, and the depth of 
the Pozzo at eighty. Now it is evident that Ant^us 
could not lift the Poets down such a distance as 
eighty miles! (see Inf. xxxi, 115-145). Giambullari 
gets rid of the difficulty in the following manner. 
He calculates the whole distance from the summit 
of the Great Abyss to the Central Point of the Earth 
as Si2^ miles. He considers the depth of the Great 
Abyss to be wholly immaterial, as there would be no 
limit to Geryon's powers of descent. He therefore 
takes the eighty miles, assigned by Manetti as the 
depth of the Posztt^ and adds them to the 730 calcu- 
lated by Manetti as the depth of the Great Abyss* 
thereby increasing it to 810 miles, while the remain- 
ing two and a half miles he reserves for the depths 
oi Malcbolgc added to that of the Pozzo. 

Putting together the two passages, in one of which 
{Inf. xxix, 8, 9) Virgil tells Dante that the Ninth 
Bolgia has a circumference of twenty-two miles, and 
in the other (Inf. xxx, 86, 87) Maestro Adamo states 

*Picr Francesco Giambullari, Accadcmico Fiorentino, Dt 1' 
Sito. Fomta^ t Misure drUo Inffnto di DanU, Firenrc, 1544. 
Ir the Preliminary Chapter will be found an illustration 
adapted from Agnelli's work f;i\'ing the dimensions of MaU- 
Mj!.'i- us calculated by Vcllutclln. By xhc courtesy of Sii^nar 
Agni::l]i and his publisher Commendalor Hoepli of Milan, I 
hflvc had permtHeion to reproduce this plan. 


Canto 3cvni. Headings on the Inferno. 


the Tenth Bol^ia has a circumference of eleven miles, 
Signor Agnelli (Titpo-Crmtografiat p, 17), adopting the 
theory of Vellutelto, calculates the circumference 
and diameter of the entire Eighth Circle. If the 
Tenth Holgia has a circumference of eleven miles, 
and the Ninth of twenty-two, that of the Eighth 
Bolgia would be thirty-three, of the Seventh forty- 
four, of the Sixth fifty-five, of (he Fifth sixty-six, of 
the Fourth seventy-seven, of the Third eighty-eight, 
of the Second ninety-nine, and of the First no miles. 
The Tadiu^oi MaUhoige is seventeen and a half miles 
and the diameter thirty-five miles. For the other 
measurements of the Inferno, I must refer my readers 
to the Plan already mentioned. 

I have discussed these imaginary details of the 
tma^nar}^ journey, because many of the illustrations 
published in the Divina drnwudia, though beautiful 
perhaps from an *esthetical point of view, are ex- 
ceedingly misleading to any one beginning to read 
the poem, and ignorant of the vast dimensions of the 
space supposed to be traversed, I may especially 
inMance one illustration of the second Canto of the 
Piir^«/on'o, otherwise very gracefully executed, where 
Danic and Virgil are represented standing beside 
what looks like a piece of ornamental rock-work in a 
suburban back garden^ and which is intended to give 
the idea iif the base of the Mountain of Purgatory, 
that vast upheaval of the bowels of the Earth, which 
soars up to an elevation beyond the permutations of 
weather, where wind, rain, snow» tempest, hail, 
thunder, lightning and rainbow are alike unknown. 

Henvenuto observes that Dante, having described 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xviJ 

the Eighth Circle as a whole, ^ives. an idea of its 
shape by a very common simile, confused however] 
in the sense, and extremely difficult in the text., 
Dante asks the reader to imagine before him a round' 
fortress on a great plain, surrounded by a succession 
of fosses. Hard by the castle gates, from the loT.vest 
rampart, there springs the arch of a bridge which 
spans the first fosse to the second rampart • thcij 
second arch springs from the second rampart, and' 
spans the second fosse as far as the third rampart ;i 
and so on with all of them up to the tenth ; in sucK | 
wise that there are ten arches contiguously succeed- 
ing each other, and yet together they form as it wer 
one consecutive bridge. In like manner this circular 
pit or fortalice is begirt with ten concave valleys 
after the manner of fosses, and these spanned by ten 
narrow bridges, by which the whole of MaUbol^c may^ 
be traversed. 

Quale, dove per guardia dclle mura 

Piu c piti fossi cinj^DH li castelli, 

La parte dov' ei son rtnde figura : * 
Tiilc imagine quivi facean quelli : 

B come a tai fortezzc dai lor sogH 

Alia ripa di fuor bod ponticelli^t 

* rtnde Ji^Mra : This is undoubtedly the true reading, though 
a considerable number uf MSS. adopt the readrng rendf or 
r£ndon siViira or .^r'^Mrd. Dr. Moore 'Text, Crit. pp. 317-519) 
says these and other more or less blunderinj* variants are 
obviously tiue to the niisunderstandios of a longish constfue- 
tion. . . . The images of walls, ditchers and forts would have 
so ficcupied the mind of the average copyist, that the change 
of rende figtirit to r^nde si^iira or skttra would seem imperative. 

t fiontki-lli • I have translated this "narrow bridges.* If 
one adopts VelIutcIlo*s view that iht; valleys were half a mile, 
or a mile, broad, one could not well say that they were Ira- 

Canto XVIII. Readings on the Inferno. 39 

ilosX ASk itno della roccta scagLi 

Movicn^ the rccidean gli argint e foaai 
Infino fi] pojcjco, che i tronca e raccSglL*^ 

Such a figure as— where for the defence of the 
tiAr«tls many and many a fosse begirds the castles 
*^lhe (ground which they occupy presents : such 
appearance did ihese make here; and as tn such 
fortresses there are narrow bridges from the 
thresholds (of their gates) to the outer rampart, 
90 (here) from the base of the cliff started bridge- 
ways of rock, which struck across the ramparts 
and fosses a^ far as the Pit, which cuts them short 
and. collects them. 

The Fit in the centre is like the nave of a wheel 
in relation to the spokes, which latter represent the 
i>*stem of bridleways, 

A question that has much engaged the attention 
of Commentators is whether there was one series of 

by littk bridges. Besides this, that the bridges were 
: aU similar in the height of their arches is evident IrDm Inf. 
if» 61 -6_j :— 

••Su per lo scopTio prendemmo fa via^ 

Ch' era ronchioso, stretto e malagcvole^ 
Ed erto piu assai che quel di pria." 
Wherever, as in the abovg lincst scoglio icfers to the bridges, 
MM alto tasse, I «hait translate " bridgeway," BerrvenutQ» in 
cocQcnenlini; on the pa&sage quoted^ secrna to justify these 
dcftaittone. He says : " f>ren4tfnmo la via sii prrto siogUoy idest 
BOBtetB* tk' rra rpnthioio^ idest saiiosum, iirciio e malagevoU^ 
■dcaC^ difficile, rt assai |^iii aio (he qud di pria, idcat, quam pona 
pracccdens: d hoc diirit quia pons, per cujus ruinam transi- 
vcrmiU, cfBt jaccns in ftindo. idco iste qui erat integer, erat 
■Jtior. CUJUS contrarium esset, nisi iUe primus cecidisset/* 

* rtUi&I^U : This is u contracted form for roicitglitU. Nan- 

Rocci ( Vrwbit p. 789) quotes this passage, and sjLys of raccogli : 

'i rtutdt ^h raccogtie," and adds : '' Co, raced, etc. 

iitlora I noftlri cnniadini." In my own experience at 

i i,.it[ M.!.. I have often iiecn a master throw something to a 

acnriQC'boy. cKclaimiing Td (lor hi^ti) *'Catch." 

Readings oji ike Infirno. Canto XVlir- 

bridges farming a. single causeway over the BolgCy or" 
whether there were several series of bridges m suc- 
cession Jike the spokes of a wheel. There is a 
strong argument in favour of the latter supposition. 
In Canto xxiii, Dante and Virgil had traversed five 
fosses by the same line of bridges ; but the sixth 
bridge they found was broken down. The Demons 
assured them that if they continued to walk along 
the rampart that divided the Fifth from the Sixth 
Bolgia, they would find a bridge not so ruined. Al- 
though the Poets kept on along the rampart, they 
did not trust to the veracity of the demons, but let 
themselves glide down into the Bolgia of the Hypo- 
crites. Walking with these latter they came to 
another bridge also broken down, and had to clamber 
up by its ruins to the rampart that overtopa the 
Seventh Bolgia. The demons, therefore, had told 
them the truth as to there being another bridge, but 
had lied in saying that it was a sound one. Blanq^ 
remarks that we have no intimation from Dante 3^| 
to how many series of bridges there were, but from 
the number of the fosses we may infer that there 
were ten. He adds that the disposition of Malebalgc 
is so vividly figured, through Dante likening it to a 
fortress with fosses and bridges, that he thinks aa\^_ 
further explanation superfluous. 1^| 

Dante having givtin a very good general idea of 
the Eighth Circle as a whole, begins to describe the 
first of its valleys, in which the Poets find themselves 
on alighting from the back of Geryon. They tur«^| 
to their left, and as they walk round the circula^^ 
valley, they have its towering cliffs overhangin, 

Canto xviii. RcaMngs on the Injerm. 


l^cm on their left, and the tormented sinners on 
their right. In Benvenuto's opinion, they at once 
(xpan to ascend one of the bridges, but I think 
W. 68-70 show quite clearly that it was only after they 
had walked some distance, during which their inter- 
view with VenedicD Caccianimico took place, that 
^Ihcy reached the first bridgeway, turned to their 
fiphl (o ascend it, and by it quitted the first valley. 

Henvenuto remarks upon the admirable symmetry 
Willi which Dante assorts the different punishments 
in Hell, In Upper Hell, when he described the 
penalties of Incontinence, he began with Sensuality 
and Impurity^ which though *' less stoful are more 
dngniceful " ; so now in his description of the penal- 
ties of the Fraudulent, he begins with that Fraud 
which is practised for Sensual purposes^ and which 
in like manner is *' less sinful but more disgraceful." 
The sinners punished in this valley are in two 
distinct classes, those who seduced women for others 
for the sake of gold, and who are vile Panders; and 
others, who seduced women on their own account 
under promise of marriage, and then abandoned 
than. These two classes have to run in opposite 
directions, pursued and scourged by Demon cxecu- 

In questo loco, daJU »chiena Kossi* 

♦*f< 'cs Ihe mtatiing **lo shake," sfMoUr^ can mean 

*^^ l^« " to icmovc from oneself," or " rtmove one- 

ilu-rr Are- several Commentator^ who think that 
jMlcd the Poets m a fury at having had to convey 
»tmed for punishment. 
^Petrarch, l*art I, Simnet 162:—* 

^B 42 ksadings on the Inferno, Canto xviil. 

^^^^^_ Di Gcnon, iTovammaci : c il Pacta 20 
^^^^^H Tenne a sinistra, ed io retro mii mossL 
^^^^H Alia man destra vidi nuova pi£ta ;'*' 
^^^^1 Nuovi tormenti e nuovi frustatori, + 
^^^^H Di che la prima boEgia era repteta. 

^^^^^ At this spot we found ourselves on being shaken 
^1 offthe back of Geryon : and the Poet (Virgil) held 
^V to the Ieft» and I moved on t^ehind. On the right 
^B hand 1 beheld new misery ; new torments and new 
^1 scoLirgers^ wherewith the Brst valley was Ailed. 

^B To describe how this valley is divided lengthways 

^1 into two concentric zones, Dante recalls the manner 

^H in which the Bridge of Sant' Angelo at Rome was 

^H similarly divided for the regalation of the enormous 

^H traffic that there was during the Jubilee in 1300. 

^H Nel fondd erano ignudi % i peccatori t 15 

^^1 "Ch^ quand' i' sia di questa came sCOssOf 

^H Sappia '] niondo che dolcc h la mia moite-** 

^H And Petrarch; Part II, Somiet 54 :— 

^B "Or hai spo^hata nostra vita e sco&sa 

^H D' D^ni ornamento e del sovran suo onore." 

^^ft *f>i^ta: This word must not be confounded with pieid, pity* 

^^M compassion. The I'ttciibolario ^dla Crusca says it is a poetical 

^^B word> m^anin" "anguish, pnin, torment/' equivalent to the 

^^P Greek XvTrt). Compare Peirarch, Part 11, Cant, vl (numbered 

^^M tn some editions 47), ht> i :— 

^^1 " Tutto dj pJT^ta e di paura smnrto 

^^H Dico : Onde vien tu ora, fclice alma ? " 

^^M ffrustafori: All the punishments in M alfbolg£ bltc a.dmim^ 

^^m tered by Demons. Scartazzini does not consider either Cer- 

^^1 bcrus or (he Harpiea to have been such^ but that Dante now 

^^1 for the first time sees demons in the capacity of regular tor* 

^^1 mentors. 

^^M I i^uudi: Blanc thinks we arc to take nudity as the general 

^^M condition of the daamed spirits in Hell, and that Ihcy arc only 

^^M represented as clolhcd, when their clothing ia a diittinctive 

^^H part n{ their punishment ; such as the Suicides enclosed in 

^^M trees, the Kypocritt^s robed in leaden mantles, and the Fraudu- 

^^B lent Counscllurs draped in flames. The nudity of the spirits 

Canto XVIir. fieadings on the In/ento, 45 

Uat mezzo in qua ci venian verso i| votto, 
Di 1^ con noi, ma cnn passi nnaggiori! 
Come J Koman, per 1' esercito* mnlto, 

K~ L' anno del Giubbilco, su per lo ponte 

Hanno a passar la gente modo colto ; 30 

Che daU' un lato EuHi hanno la fronte 
Verao H castello, e vanno a santo Pietro; 
only mentioned when the narrative requires them to be de- 
picted qs dcprit'cd of any protection to their skin under their 
jppalling tormentR. Such was the condition of the Negligent 
in /n/, lii, 65; of the Wrathful in vii, iii ; of the Squanderers 
in xiii, tt6; of the Violent against God, I^ature and Art, in 
\i\ . 19: and we may perhaps infer that all spirits soever 
rnT'jrcd Hell in a state of nudity before reaching their appointed 
place nf punishment, for in /"/ iii* 85-67, Charon addresses the 
«ptritii a» being destined for different kinds of torments, after 
which in IL loo-joa wc read : — 

*• Ma quetr anime ch' eran lasse c nude, 
Cangi&r colore e dibattero i dcnti 
Ratio che inteser le parole crude/' 
^^-^ •r fS€frito moitu : Esercito here simply stands fnr multitude. 
^HCoinp»fr Vifg. Oiorg. i, 38 [, 3,82:— 
^^F ". . , e pastu decedcna agmine magno 

Corvorum tncrcpuit densts exercitus alls." 
G. Viltani ^viii, cap 36) states that he hintseU witnessed the 
perfect organisation with which the immense mai^ses of pil- 
Crim» wh« attended the Jubilee al Rome were fed during their 
«Uv in the city : " Gran parte dc" cristiani, che allora viveano, 
leoono ildettopellegrinaggio cosi fern mine come uomint^di Ion- 
Ujit e divcrsi paesi, e di lungi e d' appresso. E fu la pi^ mira- 
bilc cosa the mai si vedesse, che al conlinuo in tutto 1' anno 
durante, avea in Roma oltrc al popolo romano, dueccntomita 
prllegrini. san/a qucj^li ch* crano per gli cammini andando e 
unuindo, e tutti erano forniti c cortlcnti di vittuaglia giusta- 
■catc. eo«i cavalli come le per*one» e con molta pa^ienza, e 
iBfUB rnmnri o zitfTc ; ed io 11 poKso testimoniare, che vi fui 
procnte e vidi," Both the Otltmo and the Anonitrta Fiorentino 
neUte the mode adopted for the safe transit of the bridge, and 
■OK »ccount which tells us that in the year 1300, when Dante 
vms Klnrentine ambassador at Rome, Boniface VIII, '' fcce 
dnidrrc tl ponte per lo lungo, aicchf^ la gcnte dah' un lato 
acula«*c verso Castel Sant' Angelo a ^an Pietro, dalT altro^ 
■vrno il montc Giordano & Hin Paolo senza tntopparsi ; e 
:> Kturdic, che additavano il pa:%so." 

44 Readings on the Inferno. Canto xvc 

Dall' altra sporda vanno verso \\ montc* 

Di qua, di li, su per lo sasso tetro 

Vidi Demon cornuti con gran fer^e, 
Che li battean crudeimenle di retro. 

Ahi come facean lor levar le berze t 
Alle prime percoBse I gi^ ncssuno 
Li; seconde aspettava n^ le terze. 

At the bottom of it (the valley) the sinners were 
naked : (in the zone) on this side of the middle 
they were coming towards our face, (while in the 
zone) on the further side (they were gom^) with 
us, but with swifter steps. Even as the Romans, 
by reason of the vast multitude in the year of the 
Jubilee, have taken measures for passing the people 
over the bridge, so that on one side all have their 
faces towards the Castle (of Sant' Angelo), and go 
to St. Peter's, while on the other side they go to- 
wards the Hili (the Mons Janiculus). All along 
the gloomy valley of rock, on this side and on that, 
I saw horned Demons with great whips, who were 
beating them cruelly behind. Ah, how they made 
them lift up their heels at the first blows! Truly 
not one waited for the second or the third. 

*(/ monU : It is not of any great consequence to decide what 
mountain Dante is speaking ol here, Some think it is Monte 
Giordano, but Blanc remarks that PkUaUthes (King John of 
Saxfiny), who was a most careful observer of places and sites, 
heartily approved and endorsed the opinion of Lombardi, who 
in his later edition contended that Dante must have meant the 
Mons Janiculus. Dr, Paget Toynbee in his Dante Dictionary 
(B,v. Gianicolo) also holds this opinion, 

iheru: Benvenuto interprets: '■'■beri£,'idt.^i cak^neos." The 
Vocahoiario dtUa Crums describes it as the part of the leg be- 
tween the knee and the foot : and quotes likewise Benvenuto's 
interpretation, Daniello understands it : '* how they made the 
weals rise upon the flesh at the first stripes!" Lord Vernon 
{Inftruo^ vol. i, p. 246. note), after quoting the La Cru^ca inter- 
pretation, adcfs that there is another explanation given to 
berzu sometimes as|{ a howl^ and according to which, 
came Jacmn tor Itvat Us htrxe would be : " how they made them 
yell I '• 

-^nto xviii. Readings on th4 Inferno. 


Blanc hazards a conjecture that as this is the 

^^^lyplace in the Inferno where the Demons are seen 

lib horns, and as the sinners punished here are 

' "^hose who betrayed women, the fact of their being 

^*irniented by executioners with horns may possibly 

t Oftaran allusion to injured husbands. Blanc thinks 

that Danle. who never wrote a word without its 

having a definite purpose, would not have so de- 

^ribed the Demons, unless he had a particular 

reason for doing so. 

Division li. — Dante now recognises one of the 
scourged shades in the ihrortg nearest him. These 
axe all Fanders, but as they are running in the 
opposite direction to that pursued by the Poets, 
Virp:il accedes to Dante's request that he may be 
alJowcd lo return a little way and get speech with 
the abade whom he has noticed. 

Uentr' to andava, glj acchi miei in uno 

Furo 9contratL ; ed lo si tosto dissi : 
— '• Di gii veder costui non son digiuno." — * 


l^Jigimmt .- Dante not un frequently uses, (he term digiuno, 
"UMing," in figurative senses. Any one who has never 
ted any particular food, tu i digiuno, t.^., ts not yet ac- 
ntrd wilh It. Sn also^ any one may be said to be di^hmo 
I eou, Irotn not havinj; done il, or not knowmg it. And 
in CAm contrary nense, non entr dif^mno tli una coia means that 
MIC Aas done it, d<fts know It, In the same way, in Far. xv, 
49-52. Dante's ancestor Cacciagmda tells Dante that he has 
hmg expected him, having foreseen his cominj;, by which 
OantC has xatixficd a Ion);; felt craving desire (digttnw):-^ 

' . - Grato c Ionian digiuno, 

Tralto Icggendo ntl mu):;nr> volume 
t'' nrtn «i miita mai bianco nc bruno 
Sduto haif Aglio," 



^H 46 R&ading^ oh Uu hi/crno. Canto xviii. 

^^^^^ Ptrcib a fi^ur^rlo* i pledi affissi : 

^^^^H E lL dolce Duca meco at riatctte, 

^^^^1 Ed aasenti cK' aJqu^tnto indtetro gisfii : 45 

^^^H While I was going along, my eyes were encountered 
^^^H by one, and I said at once : '' Of having seen this 
^^^^1 one I am not without experience." Therefore 1 
^^^H stayed my feet to recognise him : and my gentle 
^^^H Leader paused with me, and aseented to my going 
^^^^F somewhat back, 

^P The shade, on being caught up by Dante* who had J 
^H run back after him, does all in his power to conceal 
^B his identity, but without success, for Dante, by an 
^M allusion to a certain ill-famed spot at Bologna, con- , 
^M vinces him that he knows him well. 

^H Compare Par, xvi, 134, 135, where digluni is used in the sense 

^H of " not havin{^ had experience of" : — j 

^H " Ed ancor saria Borgo piu quteto, 1 

^H Se d\ nuavi vicin fo&ser digiuni," 

^H [If the inhabitants of the Bor^o of Florence had been spared 

^H the expetrience of new neighbours, their life would be a more 

^H pcai^cful one] 

^H Compare also Pctrarchj Trionfo d' Amtir£, cap. i, lerr. la: — 

^H "Allor mi Ktrinsi a rimirar b' alcuna 

^H Riconoscessi nella foUa schiera 

^H Del re sempre di lagrimc digiuno." . 

^H Compare also InJ. xxviii, BS-B7 : — ,^^fl 

^H "Quel traditor che vede pur can l'uho« ^^H 

^H E tien la terra« che tal ^ qui meco, ^^^ 

^H Vorrebbe di vederc csser digiuno," etc. 1 

^H */t^Ufarlo : Blanc ( Voaiholario Diittimco) says that the wqj^H 

^H in this particular pa$s3ge seems to be taken in the scnse^^H 

^H rajfigurare, which in Par, iii* 58-63, we sec haa the meanings ST" 

^H " to recognise after close inspection " :— 

^^M Vostri ri&plende non so che divino, 
^^^ Che vi trasmuta dal pnmi concetti. 
^^1 Per& non fui a rimembrar festino, 
^^m Ma or m' aiuta cjii* che tu mi dici^ 
^H St cbc raffigurar m' ^ piii latino." 

►'into xvill. Readings on Ike Inferno. 



E quel frusUlo celar &i crcdette* 

Bassando il v)so» ma poco gli valsc: 

Ch' io diss: :— '• Tu che I' occhio a terra Retle, 

Se le tazion chc port; non son fal&t;, 

Vcnedico bc' Iu Caccianimico: + 5a 

Ma chc ti mena a. si pungenli Salsc ? " — 

And that scouri^ed one thought to conceal himself 
hy bending down his face, but little did it avail 
him I for I said : '• thou that castest thine eye 
down to the ground, if the features that thou 
wicarest are not false, thou art Venedico Caccia- 
nimico ; but what brings thee to such stinging; 
Satsf (j.f. to such bitter castigalion) ? ' 

Dante, by this last sentence, conveys a peculiarly 
^itini; sarcasm, in speaking of this valley as le Sake, 
» name with which Venedico, a Bolognese, would 
^perfectly familiar as that of the place of execution 
M Balogna, It is as though one should ask 
inf)ther: "What has brought thee to such a Cal- 
vary?" meaning such a place of degradation and 
^ufifcring, Tommaseo adds that Gehenna, the valley 
^ Infamy near Jerusalem, gave its name to the 
pliw of Infernal Torment, Littre {Dictionnaire de 
^iangue Fran^aise) from Gehenna derives the O. Fr* 
jf'W, Fr. ^>«ir, primarily " torture," hence *' trouble* 

, *etUr si cndtttt .• This shade is the first Dante has encoun- 

td who ftcckx to conceal himself 

r^Vritri^lf-o CJicci«nimico was of the powerful Goclph family 

'f^ unimtci of Bologna; but he himself appears to 

'*» tii lilllc knnwrt except for ihc unenviable notoriety 

ttKuirrd by the crime for which he iu here pum&hed. Venedico 

n% hnhcH by the Marchesc d' Iislc iprob<ibly Opjjzo II), (o 

"" ' the chamber of Venedico'a own si&ter. Ghtsola- 

rcst maiden in Balo^na, and ihc Marthese, having 

LwUi of her, broke hi* promises and dcBtrtcd her* Fot 

kblc eacnfict of hi» siBter* Vcnedito i» novr suffering 

: tcourgcd. 


Headings on ike Inferno. Canto xviiC 

Lc Salse was the name given lo an uncultivalec^ 
spot outside Porta San Mammolo at Bologna, wher^ 
criminals were punished in various waysj wher^ 
pimps and such-like were flogged; where, perhaps^ 
robbers were buried alive head-downwards [capofitti), 
and the bodies of excommunicated persons were left 
unburied. In those days the name was a proverb oF 
infamy, and Tommas^o says that even now the 
country people call the spot Le Sarse. Benvenuto 
relates that when boys at Bologna wanted to abuse 
each other^ one would say to his fellow: "Your 
father was cast into Le Sakst" Dante, who h^ 
studied at Bologna, knew the place well, and here 
reminds Venedico of the punishments of his native 
place ; and yet he administers his sarcasm not with- 
out tenderness and sympathy, and in a manner that 
touches Venedico^s heart, as we see by his remarking 
that the speech of Dante is clear to him [chiara 
favdla). ^1 

Benvenuto is outspoken against the word SmF 
being translated "Sauces/' as many English * trans- 

mit is only in mare recent times that the word **$«.uce**' 
h*a been perversely insisted on. In the translation of the 
Inferno by Charles Rogers (1782), a mast faithful version, the 
line \i, rendered:— 

" But what brought you lo this sufferinfi state ? ' 
Lamennais similarly : '* Mais qu'cst-ce qui te vaut de' 
cuisantes peines ? ** Philalcthcs the aame : " Doch w*& fiihrt* 2U 
so beizend herbcr Qual dich ? " The Danish trahslatios 
Molbcch also : — 

** Men hvad kan til aaa beesk en Kval A\^ tvjnge ? ' 
Professor Norton rightly translates "such slinging SaUe ?" 
And Mr. Butler the saniie. Mr. Carpenter Gamier: *' such 
icrnblc pains." Sir Frederick Pollock, ".such punptnl 
pains." Cayley, "but how to auch a smarting bridewell 
wast thou ted ? " These renderings arc intelligible. Nol 


LTiioSviii. Readings on Ute Inferno. 


|tors(buton]y very few of the Italian Commentators) 
ender it. He says: Non ergo capias- hie Salsas pro 
w, sicut communiUr omncs exponunt, quia meiaphora 
<et aiiaw a proposito, ut per se putet. Scartaz^ini 
\^% not see any reason for not following the old 
Commentators, the more so, that their opinion 
accords very well with that of Mazzoni Toselli,* a 
I Bolagne&ei whose arguments are confirmed by a 
[buss of documentary evidence, and who emphatically 
iwjects the double meaning of the word salse as 
iBtcaning also "sauces." 

Bcnvenuto observes that Venedico, who now 
fe, is only able to give a very lame account of 

Ed egti a me : — '■'• Mai volonticr lo dico ; 
Ma sforzaml la tua chiara favella^t 
Che mi fa sovvenir del mondo antico. 

In fui colu), chc la Ghisolabella % 55 

*) "uiwes," or "biting pickle/' especially in the face of the 
ffohibitinft of Biich a version by Bcnvenuto. who lived for 
■uiy years at Bologna, as the first public lecturer on the 
Sim Commedia, and knew that Dante spoke of the Sake as 
t place of eiecution; just as the Hn^lish used to apeak of 
i; tba French of Plate tie ia Grive : and the Jews of 

'Uixjoni Tnscll) (Vo(i t passi di Dante, Bologna, 1871, 
^22,', tavB that the signiBcation of utise in not very disaimtiar 
n« that of the Latin saUhra, "a rough uncultivated spot," 
*^tkii difference, that by itt/sjr were meanl (he rough boulders 
■Ddfinia atioundin^ on perfectly sterile ground- 

iJtUrm Janlia : Venedico probably meant lo say to DaMe: 
''I thovid like In have concealed my identiiy, but your plain 
■BfoafC %o convinLCS mc th^l you know it, and also all about 
mfna, that you force mc to tell you everything." 

ICkuoUhtita : We arc li>ld by Maxzoni ToseUi (Voci t hami 
Ji Iitfiaftf, p. 119, note/ thai this lady signed herself Ghinolabella 
• her WiU, when %hc was a middle a^t^d woman and no longer 
11. [} 

50 Readings on the Inftrno. 

Condussi a far ta vo;2flia del Marchesr, 
Come chc stioni la sconcia novt/Iia, 

E non pur io qui piango Bolognesc: 
An^l n' h que3tQ loco tanto pieno, 
Che tantc lingue nort son ora appresc 

A dicer sipa tra Savena e Reno : * 

E Be Hi ciii vuoi fede o testimonio, 
Recati a mente il nastro avaro seno."— 

beautiful: "Akuni dicano che tosEei fu cost nominata per 
essere stata bella : io pero nt dubito perchS undJci anni dopo 
il suo matrimnnio ella dctt6 il suo testamento nominandosi 
GhisolabfUa ijuondam Aihtrti de Caizanemich mentre forse non 
era pifi bcUa." 

* A dicer srpa tra Savettn ^ Rino : Tlial sipa \^ the Bolofinej^i; 
provincial isin for si'rt, and not for the afliirmanve particle sf, 
we have the weighty yuthority of Lana, a BoloKnese, and Ben- 
vcnuto da Imola, and they both say : "The people of Roio(;na 
use Ji'/fl in place of sm." Tassoni {Secchia Rapita-, xii, 50) puts 
the r>lliiwin^ speech into (he mouth of the Bolognesc 5pra«^tfii 
da la PiiUita, where there is no dnabt that sipa means f^d ; — 
" Fra tanti poltronznn' j n' & ncpuno 
Ch' ajia ardimento dc vcnir qua fora 
A far ciistion con mi, fina che V uno 
Sipa vittorios, e I' aliro mora ? " 
Benvenuto remarks ; '* Notice that the author is here describ- 
ing the people of the Bologneae State both in respect to their 
idiom and to their rivers. For Bologna hath on its western 
side, towards Lombardy, a river called the Rmus. but you shall 
not by this understanH the very great river Rhine of Alkmainc, 
which formerly divided Germany from Gaul ', and this Reno of 
Boloj^na hath excellent water not only for drinking but also 
for driving mills, both those which drive corn and those 
which manufacture ailk stuffs, and many other thrngs for the 
sustenance and adornment of human life. It hath also another 
river called the Savena on its Eastern side, towards Romagna ; 
it hath a fertile and pleasant mountain which is as it were a 
shield against the South Wind; and Dante alludeii indirectly 
to this mountain when he mentions Le Stdst^ which spot is a 
precipice in this very mountain. And now you have heard all 
about the noble situation of this most pleasant city, the fertility 
and excellence of which 1 do not describe tn nil its details for 
fear of straying too far from my subject, for its very name Bo- 
nonia, meaning 'good in atl respects/ testifies to its surpassing 

C^nto xviii. R£iuiings on the Inferno, 



And he to me: "Unwillingly I lell tt, but thy 
plain language^ which makes me remember the 
former world, constrains me. I was he who 
brought Ghisolabella to do the will of the Mar* 
chese (d' Este), in whatever form the disgraceful 
tale be reported.* And I am not the only Bdogn- 
esc who weeps here: nay, so full ia this place of 
them, that between the Savena and the Reno {i.e. 
■n the whole territory of Bolngna) there are not at 
lh« present day so many tongues taught to say 
sif-a {i.e. lo speak the Holognese dialect) : and if of 
this thou desircst assurance ot testimony, recall to 
thy memory our covetous hearts." 

^H Ben 

Bcivvenuto says that Dante here takes Avarice in 
d sense ; for generally speaking, the Bolognese 
n«t avaricious in the sense of retaining, but only 
in that of grasping j'apacity j but the really vicious 
Among them make their vice take the form of base 
gains, both in their sports, in their thefts, in their 
panderings, and acquiring means for gratifying their 
gluttonous or carnal appetites by selling their 
daughters, their sisters, and even their wives to 
infamv. V'enedico tells Dante that he needs 


cxceileiicc.* Benvenuto, who, himBclf a. long resident at Ba- 
hviu, dwcIU with evident affection upon ehis passage, which 
tptmH* of the city and its inhabitants^ at the same time that he 
lecU obliged to censure their vices, and in particular the crime 
of pUldcring. He adds: '* Now thin city is at the present day 
in frcAt tnca&ure purified of that vice ; and yet the ^ulhnr is 
iMorr quick to mciition the case of a city which is a famous 
•bode of teaming than another city. There are assuredly 
nuuiy ciCiCA, and ^^rcat ones, in Italy where this vice is more 
prr^'Atrnt. lo wpcak niithirtg of Paris tn France." 

* Aoolhcr tntcrprctal'O'n iii' : '' N'o matter in what mutiliHted 
^QiJ ifn .,«■«.:■ » fiTirrn the story may ha».'c beeo related in the 
woti " s-omctimcs has the 5cnse of " falsct mutilated, 

conx; 1 this would imply that the Este family were too 

fowrrtul for the whole truth to have been told. 




Readings on the Fttforno, Canto xvni. 

proof of this {fede e testiinonio), because Dante studied 
in Bologna for some time, and doubtless had had 
such wares offered him for sale by some of the 
Bolognese, as would be done to many of the students. 
Dante, therefore, must know all this by experi- 
ence, Benvenuto thus concludes his remarks about 
Bologna: *' And from all these things you may 
gather that Dante only wishes to brand the Bolognese 
with the infamy of minor sins, and the more trivial 
faults ; for, to speak the truth, the Bolognese are 
quite innocent of serpent-like frauds or cruel deeds 
of violence with which Dante has branded many 
nations. And really the Bolognese are charming 
people, courteous, even-tempered (dulcis sanguinis) 
and of a placid nature; more than all other Italians 
do they give a friendly reception to foreigners, and 
cherish and honour them ; and I for my part shati 
make use of Dante's own argument, of not wanting 
any proof about them but my own experience, be- 
cause I lived at Bologna for ten years/' 

The conversation is here brought to a sudden 
conclusion, thereby sparing Dante from the necessity 
of speaking in terms of reprobation of Venedico's 

Cdsi parkndo il percosse un d«mnnio 
Delia sua scurlada,*c disse: — "Via, 
Ruffian, qui non son femminc da conio." — t 


*s£Unada: See that word in Donkm'a Eiymohguat Die* 
tioitary: "Smrkia It., French ecourgct {for escourie^)^ Norm. 
courgUf Engl, icourgc^ Span, zurruigo ; from ezooriaia sc, scHtica^ 
B thong made of leather." 

ifemmine dd conio .' Some understand this ** women for hire,** 
but I cannot look upon that as the best interpretation. Ma* 

fCanto XVJii. Readings on th: Inferno. 53 

As he was thus spcakrng, a Demon smote him 
with his scourge, and said: '* Be off, Pander, here 
there arc no women for coining {i»e. to maVe money 
out of)/* 

Division III. — Dante now returns to Virgil, and 
they ascend the bridgeway so as to get sight of the 
«nners in the farther zone. These are they who 
have on their own account beguiled, and afterwards 
deserted, women who had confided in them. 

to mi raggiunsi con la scorta mia : 

Foscia con pochi passi divenimmo, 
Li dove un scoglio delU ripa uscia. 

Assai le^t^ieramentc quel salimmo, 70 

E volti a destra * su per la sua scheggia, 
Da quelle cerchte eternc cl partimmD^ 

donnii GhiBolabeJIa d<:' Caccianimicl wah much too great a 

ptrrona^e to sell herself for money, U is far more probable 

'-cr miscreant brother, seeking a relief from hrs own 

.in.' embarrassments, InBuenccd his sister to grant a 

r.ttiing to the Marchese on the pretext of his love being 

b»ful and honourable, and then^ having received a large 

Lnt for himself, left her to her sad fate ; so that Ghisola- 

was A/^ntmitta da wnio only in the sense, that her brother 

wined miincy, that h, made profit out of her. See Rigutini, 

Dtl vtnf U11SO ddlit manieru danUscct ''Femmine da conio," 

Ftrcftxr. 1876, where thiis interpretation is defended, 

* vSUi a dcsira : We saw in tl. 20, zt, that on being deposited 
by Geryoii at the bottom of the Great Abyss, Virgil Intne a 
tauiin,»n6 Dante folloM'ed him. Therefore they were walking 
tloBf; the bank, with the towering cliffa [ia urchia eke tV trttortio 
ilnj^ 1. 3» on their left, and the valley {bulgia) in which were 
'^TMnners on their right. They have looked dov n upon the 
nders. who art in the /one nearest to them, but now they 
Lto ascend the bridge on their right to took down upon I he 
I (Seducers) in the further zone; and that is the meaning 
rtntra. A friend sugst^slsto me a possibly intentinnal 
', ween 12 destra in this pas^^age and a unistru In \r'it. 
who deceived women to gratify their own passions 
Js iiciiutcr>. arc less vile than those who did so as Panders for 
bi'M catn, and under no impulse of pasiiion. 

Readings ott the InfemQ. Canto xvi 

I rejoined my Escort ; after which with a few paces 
we came to where a bridgeway jutted out from the 
bank. This we ascended very easily, and having 
turned to the right up over its jagged surface, wc 
departed from iho&e everlasting lines of circum- 
vailation (i.e. the towering cliffs that encircle 

In interpreting cerckie eternc, the translation 
** eternal circles" which finds favour with some 
translators must be at once rejected as incorrect 
and misleading. As Btanc (Voc. Dani. s.v, cerchia) 
most justly points out, there is a marked distinction 
between the use by Dante of cerchio, " a circle " of 
Hell, and cenhia^ which Blanc thinks is used by 
Dante to express a circular enclosure, material and 
real, such as in this passage, as also in /«/. xxiii,* 
where he unmistakably refers to the outer girdle of 
cliffs that walls in Malcbol^c. In Inf. xxxi. 40, the 
Pozzo is described as girded by a chain of fortalices, 
each containing a giant> and reminding Dante of 
the circle of towers (cerchia tomiti)^ that surrounds 
the Castle of Montereg^one. ^i 

Some by cerckie understand the twofold stream of ^| 
sinners running in opposite directions, and the sense ^^ 
then w >uld be : " We departed from those who are 
for ever circling round and round." Some read 
cerchie es(frnt\ and Scartaz^ini regrets that he cannot 
find the authority of a single MS. to support this 

*«rcA«i ; CompMre Inf. xxm, 134, 135: — 

"S* appressa un sasso, che dalla gran ccrchia 
Si move, e varca tutti i vallon fcri." 
And Par. xv, 97 : — 

'* Fiofcnza dentro dalla cerchia antica," etc. 
In this last passage cerckin antica means the otd cnceinU of the' 
City of Florence. 

Canto XVI It. Readings on the Inferno, 

reading as it would make the sense quite easy. 
Benvcnuto reads eterne and interprets it cstern^^ 
RosBctti evidently takes the same view as Hlanc, 
Interpreting cenhic dcrnc as ** la gran ^ante circolargf^' 
the huge encircling wall of cliffs. 

The Poets^ instead of any longer walking; round, 
start from the foot of the cliffs, ascend the bndgeway, 
and commence their journey along one of the spokes 
of the wheel right across the ten concentric rings of 
hialcbclge. They have as yet seen only the sinners 
in the first of the two zones into which the first valley 
ifi partitioned; but when they have got about half 
way over the first bridge, they slop to look down upon 
the second stream of sinners, who are moving in the 
same direction as that in which the Poets had been 
goings before they turned to their right and ascended 
the bridgtway. 

QuJindo noi fumcno |i dov* ei vaneggia 
Di sotto, ptr dar pa^so agli sfcrzati, 
Lo Duca diaac : — '• Atticnti, c fa chc fcgfiia* 7 
Lo risn in tc di qucsti altri mal nati, 
A' quali ancornon vedtsti U faccia, 
PcTocch^ son con nt>i insicmc .ntdati/' — 
Dal vecchio ponte f guardavatn la traccia 

Che venia ver-o noi dall' ahrd b^nda, So 

E chc la IcTXA Bimilmentc scaccia. ■ 

* /a ciu ftg^ia, cXf:. : This mtrans thai Vtrj^il wished Dante to 
fd into »uch A position tha.t tht: second slrcani of ainncfB 
fJwuld be coming dirLCilv t<fwards htm, so that he might see 
thcif Ucci. This Dante did by standing 011 the trown ot the 
ATch with hi* body turned towards the parapet. Sec In/, xv, 
y^ AUci Nannucci. IVrii, p. 336, note 4. 

..'. . In Dante's time it was behcvcd that Hell 
I before the creation of the world. 
V.cinc ifc I 'if. in, 7 ; — 

•• Dmanii a me non fur cose create,'* etc.j 
i> tlial thi» bridge may most truly be termed a primeval otie.^ 

5^ Readings on the Inferno. Canto xvi X 

When we were there where it (the bridge) is open 
underneath to give passage to the scourged ones, 
my Leader said: " Pause» and contrive to let the 
sigKt strike upon thee of these others born in an 
evil hour whose faces thou hast not yet setn. for 
they have been going (in the same direction) with 
us." From the primeval bridge we were looking 
upon the long file (of shades) that were coming 
towards us on the other side (of the valley), and 
whom the lash in like manner was driving on. 

It must be understood that Dante and Virgil had 
not only turned to their right when they ascended 
the bridgewayi but they have now turned again to 
their right to look over the right-hand side of the 
bridge, so as to face the stream of sinners, who are 
moving in the same direction that they themselves 
had been following, after Geryon had left them at 
the foot of the cliffs. 

Only one shade in this section is thought worthy 
of notice. It is Jason ; and like Capaneus among 
the Blasphemers on the Burning Sand, the sturdy 
Greek endures his sufferings with the dignity of a 

II buon Maestro, senza mia damanda, 

Mi dissc :"* — '* Guarda quel grande chc viene, 

*stf«sfl mia domanda^ mt disse : We may remark that It Ia 
always Virgil who points out to Dante the shades of the 
ancients, for Dante naturaHy would not otherwise be supposed 
to know them, [n the case of Capaneus, who was Iving down. 
Dante had full leisure to observe him, and thercfoie Virj^il 
awaited Dante's inquiry (Ittf. siv, 46-48) :— 

** Chi 4 quel grande, che non par che curi 
L' incendiD, e f;iace dispettoso e torto 
Si che la pio^giit non par che il maturi ?' " 
But Jason was running swiftly, and had Virgil not pointed him 
out at once, Dante would not have distinguished hini in the 


Canto xviir, Readi9tgs on th& Inferno. 


E per dolor * nnn par laKfinia spanda ; 

Ijuanto aspettD rcafc ancor ritienc \ 85 

Quelli a JasoTij che per core e per senno 
Li Colchi del montDn privati fcne.t 

Egli passA per 1* isola di Lcnno, 

Poi che Ic ardtte feminine spietate J 

Tuiti Li ma^chi loro a morte dtcnno. ^ 90 

Ivi con segnl || e con parole ornate 

E ftr dolor, ct seq. : Amplified^ this line would be : " Per 
quinto ^rande sia 11 dolore che cj^li sente, non versa per6 una 
'agnmUr tinto magnaninto i il cuor suo/' Some think it may 
b« tjJcen in ihe same sense as in Inf. xxxiii, 49, where Count 
VgQ\mo %Ay^ that his ^rief stopped his teara : — 
J "lo non piangeva; si dcntro impietrai," etc. 

[But tbb is inapplicable to Ihc present case. Jason is spoken 
fill great and hi^h-souled, and Kis undaunted spirit scorns to 

t ffn$y mndone. pariitte^ for /£, andby parti^ are words still in 
Bte imongthe Tuscan peasantry^ who alEo say sine, trene-^mene^ 
Sor d, iff, me^ etc. These terms are derived from /«- for/c (i.e, 
ftct\ mitdhe, partir, tie, etc., and the w got interposed for the 
aake oi RivinK repose to the voice. 

\ tt ardite ftmminf spietaU : Venus, incensed against the 
women nl the Uland of Lcmnos for havtnj^ abandoned her 
vonhip, by way of punishment caused lirteir skin to emit a 
ow cotti kmell which drove their husbands from them. The 
woae n enraged in their turn slew every male in the Island. 
Tlw Kile exception to this was Hyp&ipyle, who being unable to 
COOK to the rei^olation to slay her father Thoas^ King of Lem- 
IMM^ ared and concealed him^ pretending all the while that 
^JK h Md killed hin> 

wo ; The 3rd person amgular of the Perfect Tense of 

KB (he formii dttU, dudt, di, which Latter got changed into 

^7 the plural of this became dUno, and by the reduplication 
fthe R, dUH»f>. 

Compare tnf. xxx, (}4 :-=^ 

" Qui li trovai, e poi volta non dierno/' 
Ljliqpii : Others read senno, which mi^ht be translated 
"Je»,* of " artful dcvtces," On this point Dr. Moore 
iits in Danif^ i, p. 3-43) remark* : " In /«/, *viii, gi, where tl 
I DMMt to read 

* Ivi ton «^«* e con parole ornate.' 
IhcTc Mf I think, much to be said for the reading s^nfici (which 


Readings on the In/erno. Canto xvf**' 

Isifife inganno, la sio^inetta, 
Cbe prima avea tutte ]' altre ingannate, 
LascioUa quivi gravida e soletla ; , 

Tal colpa * a lal martiro lui condanna ; ^^ 

Ed anco di Medea si fa vendetta- 
Con lui sen va chi da tal parte ing:anna : 
E questo basti dcUa prima vatle 
Sapere, e cU color che in s^ aasanna." — + 

My good Master, without my asking, said to me : 
'• Loo!; at that mighty one who ia coming, and 
seems not to shed a tear for all his pam : what a 
royal aspect he still retains ! He is Jason, who by 
prowess and by craft bereft the Colchians of the 
Ram {i.e. of the Golden Fleece}. He pa$sed by 
the Isle of Leninos, after that the bold and merci- 
less women had devoted all their males to death. 
There with love-tokens and honeyed words he 
deceived the younj^ Hypsipyle, who herself had 
previously deceived all the other women. There 
he deserted her pregnant and forlorn : such guilt 

has very respectable MS. support), on the stren^h of the 

probable recollection of Ovid, Her. vi, 40 : — 

* Detegit ittffettio vulnera facta tuo "... 

(See also Text Crit. pp. jzi, 322). I reluctanliy refrained from 

actually introducing simw in the W%t of the Oxford Dante, 

yielding to the opinion of sorrc to whose judgment I fcl( hound 

to attach great weight." 
* Titi wtpa, et seq. : Jason is here paying the double penalty 

of having beguiled, first Hypsipyle, and then Medea* whom in 

turn he fori^ook for the sake of Creusa. Ja&on is also alluded 

to as the commander of the Argonautic expedition in Par. ii, 


"Quel gloriosi che passaro a Cojco, 

Non s' ammiraron, come voi farcte, 
Quando Jason vidcr fatlo bifoico " ; 

an allusion to Jason having ploughed the land at Colchit 

before sowjng the dragon's teeth. 

i assanaa : Lit. '*take& in its fan^s " from iatsna or tamna. 

Compare /n/. xxx, 28, ig : " in sul nodo del collo T assannftj" 

i.f, ^'6xed its Fangs in the nape of his neck." 

snto xvtn. Readings on the Inferno. 


condemns him to such torment ; and also for 
Medea is vengeance taken, With him ijoea along 
whosoever deceives in like sort {i.e. under false 
promise of marriajje) : and this will suffice to 
know about the first valley, and of t he^ whom it 
holds in its fangs." vv^ 

DiWsjort IV. — The Poets, after leaving the Panders 

and Seducers, continue along the bridgeway, and 

reach the edge of the second rampart, which divides 

the First Valley from the Second. Here they see 

llic Flatterers, immersed in human orduie. 

Gii eravim \k 'vc lo stretto calle 

Con r argine secondo s' incrocicchisi 
E fa di quelLo ad un ahro arco spaMe. 

Quindi*^ sentimma gcntc che si nicchia t 

Ncir altra bolgia, e che col muso isbuffa, X 
E fl^ Tnedesma colle palme picchia. 

L< ripe eran grommalc d' una muffa 
Per r alita di giu che vi ai appasta, 
Che con gli occhi e cot naao facea zufTa.g 



*Qmindi means the point of intersection of the paths. 
+ 11 nicchia: Gelli aay*i that the verb niccJtittrsi is the word 
rib cooTTnon use at Florence to denote the plaintive cnes of a 
• •omaa lKittnninK(obcin labour. '' Ella com incia a nicchiarc " 
ii**cll-knnwn term. SL-arta^^ini thinks that Dante purposely 
tp^bet to ihc Flatterers the term in general use to cxprt^ss 
voBicn in Ubour (nifckiard), in order to describe vile and 
dTentfiate men. 

* f^/ njiiio iihnfa is accordmg to Gelli the exact description 
~ Ihc puf^nc sort of cJAcuIation people make when they wish 
I VTthdraw iheir face suddenly from some object with n fttid 

" Scartar^ini say* that here asain is a term designedly 

■led to denote Dante's contempt : mu^o is a word for a dogV 
IIUKitlit %f>^ the Flatterer fuwns and licks just like a do^- 
r§xii" :5arc Phvp. %^ 61-63 • — 

;cnte al fummo dcRl' inccnsi 
Che v^ era immaginati^ %\\ occhi c il naso 
Ed al »i ed al no disgordi fcnsi/' 

6o Readings on the Inferno. Canto xviR 

We were now come to that spot where the narrow 
pathway intersects the second embankment, and 
of it forms abutments for another arch. From 
there we heard people uttering plaintive cries m 
the next valley, and puffing with their snouts, aJid 
beating" themselves with their palms. The banks 
were encrusted with a mouldiness due to the ex- 
halations from below which adheres to them^ and 
which did battle with the eyes and the nose (i,f, 
was offensive to them), 

GelH draws attention to the expressiveness of 
Dante's purposely selected coarse words in speaking 
of a coarse subject. He says Homer is the only 
poet who has done the like. The Latin poets would 
have veiled the description in inflated language. 

Benvenuto remarks that this is the only instance 
in the whole journey through Hell, where Dante 
mentions the punishment of two distinct sins in the 
same Canto. Both Panderings and Flatteryj how- 
ever, are two species of Fraud which have a good 
deal of affinity for one another. 

Eveiy Pander is a Flatterer, though indeed every 
Flatterer need not necessarily be a Pander. Dante 
has well adapted the punishment of the Flatterers to 
their vile nature. Many of the most learned men 
have styled Flattery as oil. But Dante, who was a 
most ri^id lover of honesty, felt such an intense dis- 
gust for Flattery, that he changes oil into excrement, 
and represents the Flatterers immersed in a valley 
full of boiling excrement. No one who digs up 
dung, or cleans out cesspools, says Benvenuto, is so 
repulsive and disgusting as a Flatterer; wherefore 
this valley is mostly full of harlots and jesters, who 

Cinto 5CVIII. Readings mt Ike fn/erno. 


are Ihe people that give the greatest attention to the 
flailen-' upon which they Jive. 

The Poets find it impossible for their eyes to pene- 
tTate the darkness of this valley until they can h>ok 
straight down upon it from the middle of the bridge ; 
because from any other point the visual ray would 
only have struck upon one of the sides of the chasm 
^bw them. 

Lo fondo h cupo * si, che non ci bastd 

Lqco a \'edert senz^a montare at dosso no 

Deir arco, ove lo scoglio piu soprasta. 
Quivi vcnimmo, c qutndi giil nel fosso 
Vidi gcnEe attuffata in uno sttrco^J 
Che dagli uman privati parea mosso : 

Tbe bottom is so deep and dark, that no position 
ftuihcea us for seeing it without ascending' to the 
crown of the arch, where the bridge of rock over- 
hangs most. Hither we came, and from thence I 
«aw down in the fosse below people immersed in 
a tilth that seemed to come from human privies. 

Benvenuto sarcastically remarks that Dante pre- 
fers to speak of the Flatterers as being immersed in 
human ordure, because flattery is a crime peculiar 
to Man, and no other animal i& defiled by it 

^CMfc: BUnc (t'oc. Dant.) translates this '* Pro fond et 
ofcttcvr.'* In Par. iii, 121-123, the form of Piccarda dc* Donati 
ia rcprescnled fading into thin air, like a heavy object sinking 
0ut of atght in a deep dark pool : — 

** Cori parlommi, c poi comincid : Ave 

iiaria, cantando ; e cantando vanio, 
Come per acqua cupa cosa. grave," 
I a hiuta loco a vedtr : Others read non ci basta l* ixchio a 

t: Comp^n Job xx, 7 (Vulgate) : "Quasi steTquilliniuni 
'Bne pefdclur." And Lumiat. Jercm. iv. 5 {Vul^.): "Qui 
|neb«ntur in crocets, amplcxati sunt stcrcora.'* 

Readings on iht Inferno. Canto 

Two shades are singled oat for notice from the 
mass of corruption in the hlthy valky below. The 
one is a flatterer, the other a harlot ; and here again 
Dante himself picks out the one who had been his 
contemporary, while Virgil points out to him a 
notorious character in ancient history. 

Benvenuto says that the first of the two mentioned 
is Alessjo Interminelli, a knight, a nobleman of 
courteous manners, and a native of Lucca. From 
him on the mother's side, descended that tyrant 
Castruccio, who, though very sagacious, was dreaded 
throughout Tuscany as being the great hammer of 
Florence, of Pisa, of Lucca, and of Pistoja. Dante 
makes no mention of Castruccio, because he only 
became illustrious after Dante's death. This Alessio, 
from evil habit, took such delight in flattery that he 
could not utter a word, even to the lowest menials, 
without seasoning it with the oil of flattery. 

K mcnEre cW lo 1^ gti) con I' occhio cerco, ii^ 

Vidi un coL capo bi di mcrda lordo, 
Che non parea a' era laico o chcrco.* 

Qiici mi sgridu ; t — " Perchfi ae' lu si ingordo 
Di ri(;uiirdar piu me, che gli ahri brutti ?*^ 
Ed iy a lut : — ^" Perch^, se ben ricordo, 

Q'xk t' ho veduto coi capclli asciutU, 

E sei Alessio Intcrminei da Lucca ', 
Pcr6 t' adocchio pjii chc gli altri tutti." — 

Ed cgli alior, battctidoat la zucca : 

— "Quagffiii m' hanno sottimerso le luainghe, 
Ond' Lo non cbbi. mat la Lingua stucca." 

*non parea s' era lako o cherco : AlesEio InterminelirB head 
was so covered with filth, that the Poets could not sec whethe 

it was tonsured or not. 

isgridi>: Ntite the dilTcreiii:e between gruiare, lo shout* to 
cry out, and agriitufc. to do so angrily, in a scolding way. 





;ox\Mii, Readings on the Inferno, 


And whilst I was searching dawn there with miae 
eyes^ I saw ooe with his head so hesmirched with 
ordure, that it did not seem clear whether he were 
Iayma.n or cleric. He shouted angrily to me : 
"Why art thou so eager to look more at me than 
4t the other befouled ones?" And I to him: 
" Because, if I well remember, I have seen thee 
btfore now with thy hair dry^ and thou art Alessio 
Inierminei of Lucca : that is why I scan thee 
more than al] the others," And he then, beating 
Kis pate {lit. pumpkin) : " Down here have sub- 
merged me the tlattenes with which my tongue 
Wis never jjlutted." 

Virgil now points out the shade of the Athenian 

ot Thais, who, Benvenuto adds, was a great 

merer into the bargain, and by way of describing 

her more accurately, Virgil makes allusion to a 

ifuaage in the Bun^chm of Terence,* where Thraso, 

•Dr. Moore (SlUifin in DanU, i, p, 26T) writes: "There can^ I 
unkfbe no doubt whatever that DanU' derived this reference ta 
.no* directly from Terence (Run. iii, i), but from Ciccro^s 
iliftn of the passage in De Amkitia, c, xxvi, ^ g8. For (i) 
^*tn It no evidence of Dante's acquaintance with the works 
*it Terence, whereas he was certainly very familiar with the 
Of imkitU. [2] The fact that Dante treats Thais as a real 
pcrion, ihows that he vvas not aware thai she was merely a 
ictitious character in a play. Hence he derived the quotation, 
Mtfrom Ihc play itself, but from a citation ol it in which there 
■•• Oftthinjg to show that Thais was not historical, (j) Wc 
^h*oW not, perhaps, lay too muth stress on the slight error 
wolved in Dante's attributing to Thais words which in the 
onfinal were uttered by Gnatho It mayhnwever be noted 
^■1 in Dccrn't citation the name of the speaker is not men- 
iMocd. wtitlc thai of Thais occura in the passage itself, and 
■^ iBi){ht not annaturally be undcrslond to be the speaker. (4) 
TW ar(Mice«t point i^ that Cicero expressly gives this quota- 
ttMisftii enmple of the language of ftatttry fjust as Dante 
4ms berc^ and further that he explains the point of it to be 
Ifct taploymcnt of the needlessly strong word inf^entes, thus : — 
~ ' Magnas vcro agere gratias Thais mjhi ? 

SatiK erat respondcrc ma^na^ ; inginits inquit,' " 

Readings on the Inferno, Canto Xvitt. 

a youn^ soldier, asks Gnatho, the go • between, 

whether Thais had expressed herself grateful for the 
gift of a female slave whom he had sent to her by 
the hand of Gnatho. The latter replies that Thais 
had sent him the most profuse thanks. Dante, how- 
ever^ possibly by an unconscious inaccuracy, repre- 
sents the conversation as having taken place between 
Thraso and Thais directly, without the intervention 
of an intermediary. 

Appresso cid it Duca : — " Fa che pinghe," — 

Mi dissc : — " il vjso un poco piti avante. 
Si che la faccia ben con gli occhi attinghe 
Di qu{-"lla sozza* e scapi^lia(a fantc,t 130 

Che Ik si graffia con I' unghic merdose, 
Ed or V accoscia, ed ora £ in piede ftlante. 

* Diqudia sotsa,^t seq. : Dr. Moore {Studici in DanU^up.xt) 
remarks that among other ways in which Dante shows his 
hnowledge of Scripture, is by the introduction of details in the 
punishment of sinners, which have evidently been suggested 
by some incident or sgrne denunciation found in the Bible. 
After comparing Inf. xJv, 29, with Gen. xix, 24 ; to which also 
Purg. xxvj 124, and xxvi^ 2B, respond wonderfully; he shows 
that IhJ, xxvi, 42, waii in all probability in recollection oi Jitmei 
ill, 6, and adds : " Another casc^ perhapfi, mav be the filthy 
punishment of the courtezan Thata and others j^whtch may be 
compared to], £«/us. ix. 10: * Omnia mulier quae est fornicaha, 
quaivi ^tercus in via conculcabitun' This, however, in Dante is 
the special punishment for Hattery, though the epithet puttana 
may have suggested it." 

^/anU: I have followed most of the authorities in t«ktng 
this word to be used in the sense of a vile, worthless woman. 
Scartazztni says that Monti {Pfop. ii, i, p. 65^ interprets fanU 
A^bagascia^ '* bagi^af^e." The Vm. d^Ua Crusca says that when 
fault is in the feminine gender it haii no other meaning than 
that of a servant, Lat. artciila. famuh. Lamennais takea it in 
that sense, obsen'ing : " II I' appehe servante parce qu' elle 
etaic au service de tous.*' But Getli says: *^ Ultimamente ci 
4 da considerare che qucsta voce fttnUy con lu quale il Pocta 
'Chiania questa Taidc. non vual dir scrva, come clla significa 


^anto xviii. Rf-adings on the Inferno. 65 

Tiude S la puttana, che rispose * 

Al drudo auo, quando disse: ' Ho io graxic 
Grand] appo le ? ' 'Anil meraviglioseJ 135 

E quinci $ien le nosire viste sazie." — 

After this my Leader: ** Contrive to stretch thy 
^« a little further forwards^ so that with thine 
eye-sight thou canst reach that filthy dishevelled 
drab who is clawing herself with her befouled 
na.i]&, now cowering down, and now standing on 
her feet. She is the harlot Thais, who to her 
paramour, when he said ; ' Have I great thanks 
from thee?" replied: 'Nay, stupendous!' And 
with this let our observations be surfeited/' 

Virgil would say to Dante that the mere sight of 
Alessio Interminet (or Interminelli) will give hioi a. 
^efficient notion of the fate of Flatterers and Para* 
*iles, and after seeing Thais he will have had more 
thin enough of the disgusting place. They can 
^Hcrcforc pass on along the bridgeway to the Third 

"^-■■Ticmcnic ne)la ttngua nostra Iperchft Taide non fu ma! 
4j, ma vuol dire parlante : ncl quale significatD la uso 
■"■il.Ticntc il Pocla ncl Pur^, kxv. 61 ; — 

' Ma tome d' animal divcnga fante.' *' 
Gflfi adds thai by this appellation Dante wishes to allude to 
1t>c nature of women, who talk more than men. 

*Tatdf , . .che riipoii , etc. : The following is the passage 
from Terence {EunuthuSt Aci iii.fic. i]^ most probably borrowed 
%^ Dante from Cicero^ Dt .-IwfiV. xxvi, 98 : ''Tkr. Magnasvero 
*(vre gratiaa Thais mihi ? Gn. Ingcnteis. Thr. Ain' tu ? 
^JttU ^tt ? Gx. Non tam ipso qyidem. Dono, quam abi^ le 
^Httam ease : id vero scriu triumph at. '^ 






Readings oh Ote Infcrtw. Canto Xl^ ' 



The Poets, at the conclusion of the last Cant 
were in the act of turning away in disgust from t 
loathsome slough in which were Immersed t 
Flatterers and Parasites, and we are to understa 
that they have walked on along the bridgewa; 
until they can see right down into the Third Bolgia 
or Valley, 

Benvenuto divides the Canto into four pa.rt& 

In Division I, from ven i to ver. 30, the punish- 
ment of the Simonists is described. 

In Division II, from ver. 31 to ver. 66, Dante 
relates his conversation with Nicholas III, a Simon- 
iacal Pope of the great Orsini family. 

In Divisiofi III, from ver, 64 to ver. 87, Nichol 
speaks of the other Simon iacal Popes. 

In Division IV, from ver. 88 to ver. 133, Dante 
inveighs against the rapacity of the chief pastors of 
the Church. 

Division I. — We may suppose that while the Poets 
have been traversing the space between the Second 
ind the Third Bolge, Virgil has told Dante that he is 

ite I 



^■^Sntoxnt. Readings on the Inferno. 67 ^^B 

^H ibout to witness the punishment of the Simontsts in 1 

^H^neral, and more particularly of those among them 1 

^H^ho had been Popes. No crime would more the- 1 

^Hrvughly rouse Dante's indignation than corruption H 

^Hiniong the chiefs of the Church. His ideal was H 

^Hopri^ht secular government under the Emperor, ^^H 

r uftened and sanctified by perfect purity in the ^^H 

\i spiritual guidance of the Church under the Pope, its ^^^k 

appointed Ruler. Nowhere did he hnd the realisa- ^^| 

tion of his ideal The Emperors were indifferent, H 

and the hierarchy was corrupt to the very core. He 1 

breaks out into a storm of indignation against the ^^| 

latter, calling them the followers of Simon Magus^ ^^| 

»'ho {AcU. viii. g et scg.) offered money to St. Peter to S 

endue him with the faculty of conferring the gift of ^^H 

' tbe Holy Ghost with its miracle-working powers. ^^H 

^^K Simon mago,'"' a mi^en seguaci, ^^^| 

^^^^^K^iMwff mago : Chau<^cr {Pcrsones Tale) thus alludes to 

^^^^^Hw*** Ccrtca fiimonic 19 cleped of Simon Magus^ that woM 

^^^^H^Hfct for Utnporcl catcl the yefte thai God had yeven 

W^B^^^^f K^^t ^^ Seint Fitter, and to the AposUti^: and 

^fC^m^^^ndrrstand ye, thai holh ha that selleth and h^r that 

bjrth thin^cs spirituel ben called Sinionlackes^ be it by catel, 

he it by procuring, of by fleshly praier of his frendes fleshty 

frrndo, or spirilucl frendes, fleshly in two maners, aa by 

fcxndrrd or other frendes : sothlVr if they pray for him that ia 

aei worthy and able, it is simonic, if he take the bejTctice, and 

if be be M'onhy and abte, thcr is non." ^ 

Simony ifi also mentioned by Brunetto Latlni in the Tiso- ^^H 

rtftii, xzi, 359 : — ^^H 

*'AItri per stnionia ^^^H 

Si gctta in mala via, ^^^H 

E Dto e' Santi nfft^nde, ^^^| 

^^^^^^^ B vende Ic prebcndc, ^^^| 

^^^^^^^^L E sanle ^^^H 

^^^^^^^f E mettc la gcntc ^^^| 

68 Readings on the Infemc, Canto xix : 

Che Ee cose di Dio, che di bontatc 
Dcono esscre spose, e vol rapaci* 
Per oro e per argento adulterate ; 

Or convien che per voi saoni la. lrDmba + 
Perocch^ melLa. terza bolgia sfdte. 

ABsempri di mal fare. 

Ma questo lascio stare^ 
Chi& tocca a ta' persone, 

Che non ^ mia ragione 
Di dime lungamente," 
** voi rapaci: Witte and others omit the "f" before voi. 
On this see Dr Moore, Tcxiual Criticism^ p. 324 : *^ The wcH-aup- 
portcd readings voi is, 1 have Little doubt, the true one here. 
The u^e of ^c ' is somewhat idiomatiCjand its omissiion gives an 
abviously fucilinr Intio. If this idiomatic use be overlooked, 
no doubt the word in its ordinary copulative sense causei a 
break in the construction. . . . Judicious i:; the remark of 
Bianchi: 'La Nidobcatina toglie quell' e^ mi mentre prov- 
vcde al miglioreandamento ^rammaticale, toglieassai . . .alia 
forza deir tnvettiva,' ] would defend and illustrate this idio- 
matic use as follows: (1) There are sfveral passages in the 
Cotnmcdiit^ t.g, hi}\ xxv, 35 and 50, in both of whii::h passages it 
is equivalent to a sort of interjection like * Lo I ' Again in 
xxx^ 115 we have the very strongly supported reading i tu, . . . 
Again Pi*rg. viii, 94 is a clusely parallel case where only a few 
MSS, omit i before Sordello. Also Purf^, xi, 17, where in the 
Fitter NosUr the spirits of the Proud say in prayer ■" e tu per- 
dona Benif^nn,' whtre '£' stands for ' Dtfi.^ {2) We have 
the parallel use oi jtti^ue in Latin, as in the welUknown passage 
of Virgil, 1 Gtorg. 20j: — 

' Si brachia forte remisit^ 
Atque ilium in praeceps prono rapit alvcus amni/ 
(3) t have also found a very similar passage in the Chanson df 
RoiaKdr 1.40;-^ 

' S' en voejt patages, ( vus I' en envdejr ;' 
which Gauticr translates: — 

' S* il extge dcs otages, th bicn ! envoy tz-en/ ^' 
i Sutmi la Iramba ; This iij thought to be an allus^ion to the 
proclamation by a crier of the crimes of those condemned to 
public punishment, Compare Gower, C&tt/tssio Amantist 1, 
London, 1817. Vol. i^ pp. 113 and 114' — 
" It fell Ko that in thllke dawe 
There was ordeigned by the lawe 

Uo XIX. Readings on the Inferno. 



Simon Magus, O ye (his) miscreant foftowers, 
who the things of GotI, which ouj^ht to be the 
brides of righleouaness (i.e. ought only to be given 
paluitously to the good), behold ye, rapacious as 
ye are, prostitate for gold and silver; now must 
the truinpet sound for you« because ye abide in 
the third valley. 

Dante means» Ihat their evil doings must be pro- 
claimed in his poem. The holy dignities of the 
CKarch are figured as wedded brides, prostituted and 
Wed by being bought and sold. 

In the description which now follows we must 
understand that Dante and Virgil have been repeat- 
ing the process detailed in Canto xviii, 109-112, 
where they ascended to the highest point of the arch 
lo look perpendicularly down upon the Flatterers. 
Passing along the bridgeway, they have now 
iscended to the summit of another arch, namely, 
that which dominates la scj^uente tomba, i.e. the valley 
*tiicli, [ike a huge cemetery, is occupied by the 
lishts. each in his own separate place of tor- 
' This arch runs from the third to the fourth 
"^fnpart, as we shall read in 1. 40. 

A trompe with a sterne breth, 
Which was cleped the trompe of deth. 
And in the court, where the king was, 
A certain man this trompe of brass 
Hath in keping and thereof serveth, 
That when a lord his d^th deservelh, 
He shall thift dredfull trompe blowe 
To'fure his gate and make it knowc, 
Ho* that the jugcment is yive 
Of deth, which shall nought be forgive." 
[^_ Only one wnncr was visible to the eyt at the orifice of the 
'.boi each bole contained many more shade* b^tow, who 
lorifinatly, each in his turn, occupied the topmoM place. 


Readings on the Inferno, Canto xix.] 

Before giving a detailed account of the punishment 
of these sinners, Dante almost renders thanks to 
God for His severity, or at any rate addresses aaj 
apostrophe to that Divine Wisdom which has meted] 
out such well-deserved chastisement. No word of| 
sympathy falls from his lipSj no tear dims his eye 
All through the Canto he addresses the prostrated 
Pope at his feet as one of the worst of evil-doera,| 
and as such to be reviled and abhorred by every 
true son of the Church. 

Qiik eravamo alta sc^uente lomba 

Montati dcllo ^icogtio in quelU parte, 
Che appunto sopra mezzo iL fosso piomba. 

O somma Sapienj:^,* quanta fe I' arte 

*0 sQmma Sffpifnsa ; Dante seeing the Popes and Pafttors i 

the Church punished for Simony, no doubt turned hi? thoughts 
to the words of St. Paul \Coi^ iii, 3' ; "Set your affection on 
things above, not on things on the earth." This is what it' 
was their duty to ttathj but they practised just the reverse, 
Biagioli remarks* Ifiat the conformity which Dante notices hete 
between the punishment and the sin is, thai Stmony beinK an] 
effect of Avarice, and as Avarice causes men to turn theirJ 
backs to Heaven and their faces to earthly things, it is jus-tl 
that sinners should, in order to redouble their tornicni, be] 
placed in such a position as would recall and demonstrate the] 
circumstances of their sin. Biagioli feels sure that such wi 
Dantc*s intention by what he writes in Purg, xji, 115-120: — 
''Quel ch' avarizia fa, qui si dichiara 

In purgazion dell* animc converse, 

£ nulla pena il niontc ha piil amara. 

Si come r occhio nostro non s adcrse 

In alto, fisso allc cose terrene, 

CoBt giustizia qui a terra il merse." 

Scartazzini thinks that Dantc^s exclamations^ qutinto g;iusto iu 

virtA comfmrte ! (L I2f; adulterate {\, 4); and yw««*/t' cvlii, cA 

skdcsopra P «f i/uf, Puttuttf^giar m' rggi a lui /u vi!,ia (IL 107. to8\ 

should be compared with ^irr. xt;c, -^ : *^ Fi>r true and rightcoui 

arc his judgments ; for he hath judged the great whore, which 

did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenge 

the blood of his eervantt* at her hand." 

Canto \IX. Readings on the Inferno. 



Che moBtrl in crcio, in terra e nel ma| mondo, 
E quanto gausto tua virtu compartc 1 

We were now at the tomb (i.e. the Biiigia) next in 
succession, having ascended to that part of the 
bridge which hangs plumb over the middle of the 
fos&e. O Supreme Wisdom, how vast ts the art 
which thou dost display, in Heaven, on Earth, 
and in the Evil World, and what great justice 
does thine Omnipotence mete out! 

Dante now describes the general appearance of 
the valley, and it is noteworthy that whereas in the 
other Bolge the sinners are only seen on the giound, 
as it were, in this Botgia the number of simoniacal 
priests and dignitaries of the Church is so vast, that 
bottom is not sufficient to contain them alf, and 
icy are represented occupying rock-cut tombs all up 
\c sides of the valley. They are placed head down- 
Is in small holes, out of which their legs project^ 
vhile their feet are being continually burned by a 
Umbent flame. The holes are compared to the little 
^tindncat wells for the priests to stand in, made 
istde the solid framework of the Fonts in the Tuscan 
Baptisteries such as existed in the time of Dante. 

to vidi per Le co&Lc 1: per Lo fondd 

Plena la pietra jivida di Ion 

ly un largo tutti, c ciascuno era tondo- 15 

Non mi parcan mcno ampi nh maggiori 

Che qiJci chc son ncl niio be:! San Giovaitnj * 

*mi^MSan Giovanni: Scartaz^ini thinks the ffiio exf resses 
tfcc great affection of the poor exile for hia native country, 
Caapare Par. xxVt i-&, where Dante speaks wilh ti^ndcr lung- 
Jog of his desire to revisit his beloved h'lorence : — 
" Se mai contint;;* che I] poema sacro, 

Al quale ha po^sta mano e cicLo e terra, 
St chc m* ha futto per piili anni matrt>, 

Readings on tfie Jnfimo. Canto 3t 



Fatti per loco de' battezratori j 
L* UP delli quail, ancor non & moU' anni, 

Rupp' io per un che denlro vi annegava ; 
E questo sia suggel * ch' ogi^i uomo sganni. 

Upon the sides and upon the bottom (of the 
valley) I saw the dark grey rock full of holes all of 
one size, and each was circular. They se<^nied to 
me neither less ample nor greater than those that 
in my beautiful San Giovanni are made for the 
{standing) place of the baptisera; one of which» it 
is not many years since, I broke for (the rescue oO 
one who was suffocating in it, and let this be the 
seal lo undeceive every man {i.e^ my guarantee 
against any one thinking that I broke the font 
from sacrilegious irreverence). 

The Baptismal Font of Florence, with the hole^ 
for the baptising priests to stand in, no 100^01" 
exists, having been destroyed in 1576, when the 
Baptistery was being prepared for the solemn bap- 
tism of Prince Filippo, the infant son of Francesco 
(I) de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. It was 
demolished by the advice of a certain archilect 
named Bernardo delle Girandole. Vellutello, who 

Vinca la ctudelt^ chc fuor mi serra 

Del bello ovil, dov* io dormii agntllo 
Nimico ai lupi che gli danno guerra," etc. 
Benvenuto sa3rs that old tradition credita San Gioiianni. now 
the Baptistery of Florence^ with having been in ancient days 
the Temple of Mars: "and indeed," he adds^ "it docs not at 
all seem to have the form of a Christian churchy for it is round 
and angular, having eight angular sides ; and I know not if it 
be true, but 1 have heard that there is a similar temple in the 
city of Parma in Lnm hardy.*' 

*suggfl ch' ogffi uomo sganni : By suggtf he means a scaled 
document, an nuthoritativc testimony that will be the obvious 
means of undeceiving any one who hnd given credence jo the 
malevolent and fonlish calumny circulated by Dante's enemies 
that he had purposely committed an act of sacrilege. 

Readings on th€ Infeyno. 

pobiished his Commentary in 1544, speaks of it as 

5*iN existing in his time, and we may take it for 

granted that it was well known to the Florentines 

of those days, as well as to the more ancient Com- 

nientators. There are however two similar fonts 

5tin in existence, one at Pisa and the other at 

P'stoja. That at Pisa is thought to have a close 

resemblance to the one formerly in use at Florence. 

A plan of it will be found in (he notes of Scartaz- 

fini'i Commentary ; and in the Album Volume (vol. 

iwUf Lord Vernon's Inferno may be seen enfrravings 

***ctly representing the interior of the Baptistery of 

Pisa {reproduced in this volume)," and that of Pistoja. 

'''tform of the font appears to have been octagon, 

'*Hv that in four of its great sides were the four 

^ftuiar wells in which the baptising priests stood 

'°^ the purpose of being protected both from the 

F^'^sure of the crowd and the splashing of the 

*>ter, Vcllutello says of these holes, that "they 

*^at Florence in the Church of San Giovanni, and 

■'caif round the baptismal font, one at every comer, 

constructed as a place for the baptising priests to 

ttand in. although at the present day they are no 

longer used except on certain festivals, when a priest 

steps into one of them to perform certain ceremonies ; 

but for Baptism they make use of a different font for 

Dn^ng the autumn of i860 I wasinfrprmcd bj^ the custodian 
of IIk Bftptistcry of Pisa that a few years previously, by per- 
iwiwon of the authorities, my father, Lord Vcrnnn, had caused 
iSbMing, forty feet in height. In be erctted in the HaptiK^ 
tbcrc «o th«t in the drawing he wan havinj^ made fnr his 
ilmiin wolurne, the spectator might look down into the font»and 
the rt>ce« of the bapliacrs. 


Readings on ifte Infemo. Canto xix. 

convenience sake, even in that very Church." It 
would seem then that in 1544 the original purpose 
of these holes had been abandoned, but that this 
change did not take place either in Dante's time, 
nor for a long time afterwards, we may learn from 
the old Commentators. Blanc [Saggio], quoting 
from them, says that in those days children were 
oniy baptised on Easter Eve and the Eve of Whit 
Sunday, except in cases of illness (periculum in 
mora), Consequently the great crowds round the 
font caused some danger lest the baptising priest 
might be jostled, and the child shaken out of his 
hands into the water. Hence these holes, into which 
the priests descended. 

The episode alluded to by Dante, in II. 19-21, of 
his having broken one of these wells to save a 
person's life is sometimes variously interpreted on 
account of the words chc dcntto v' annegava, which 
translated literally would be " who was being drowned 
in it/* but Blanc {ibid. p. 1S8) points out that it is a 
thing of very frequent occurrence for words having 
a special signification to be used in a wider and more 
general sense, and so in this instance annegare, which 
usually means "to drown," is used with the sense 
of " to perish somehow," and alt the older Com- 
mentators so understood it. Benvenulo relates the 
story very circumstantially, namely, that some boys 
were playing round the font, as is their custom, and 
one of them jumped impetuously into one of these 
wells, and got his limbs so twisted in it, that no one 
could draw him out. A great crowd collected round 
the spot, when Dante, who was at that time one of 

Canlo XfX. Headings on the Inferno. 



the Prwri of the City, came up, and seeing the boy's 
danger^ called for an axe, and with it himself broke 
the marble side of the well and rescued the boy. 
Scartaz^ini does not think this tallies with 1. 19, 
where Dante says *' it is not many years since/' as 
we know that Dante was Priore in 1300, in which 
year the Vision is supposed to be taking place,* but 
he thinks a truer account is that ^'iven in the Cotnenh 
di Anonimo (ed. Lord V'emon, Florence, 1848, p. 148), 
in the following words: "And the author says that 
on the day of (Holy) Saturday, when the sacred 
firework f is lighted, he saw Antonio di Baldinaccio 

■•On ihis Dr. Moore writes lo me; ■* There is an important 
qucKlion of principle involved in the argument in favour of the 
year ijot, which is .sought to be derived from this passage. . . . 
It is ciidcfttly implied that an event referred to in any way as 
hAviAg ilready happened, must necessarily have been anterior 
10 the auumed date of the Vision. But we must emphatically 
protest against the notion that the assumption of a ^xed date, 
and the careful separation of past and future events in refef- 
eocc 10 it, should preclude Dante from making use, in the way 
of iliiistratioK. stmili or fnmparison, of cvcnta that occurred 
later This is quite different from allowing himself^ or any of 
the characters whom he introduces, to refer as ipatken to such 
occurrences. Though Dante as a speaker never docs this, 
Dsnie as a narrativL* poet is not thus hampered. It would 
have been sheer pedantr>' in him to accept such a restriction i 
and he did not accept it. . . . As to this mcidcnt in Inf. xix, 19 
, r . Gnon &ays, on the authority of Jacopo di Dantc^ that this 
occurred in April, 1301, and argues hence against the date 
130a But Dante htmBctf adc!R ' it waft a few years ago {aucvr 
mom i iMolf* njfiitV which shows that hti does so as Dante the 
narrative po«l. The passage, therefore, cannot bear on any 
case on ihe as^^umcd date as between ijoo and i joi, as it is 
not mote »u(lablc to the one than to the other.*' 

tTbc ««cref) fireworlic is better known at Florenee by it» 
pc»pvlar name t«f Lo icoppw dd Cafrtt^ lit. "The explosion of 
(he Car." The custom i« that on Easter Eve during Hj|;h 
Maea, a Brcwork dove iu c!ei>patchcd along a wire from the 
High Altar of the Cathedral to the Piazza outside, to set light 


Readings on the Inferno, Canto xrx. 

de' Cavicciuoli of Florence, who had twisted himself 
into a hole in such wise that it became necessary to 
pull this hole to pieces ; and Dante was the person 
who did so destroy it.'* Scartazzini observes that 
considering this account of the little boy who was 
saved, as well as the precise day the circumstance 
occurred, it does not strike him as being mere in- 
vention. Buti is not certain whether anni-gava may 
not really signify " was drowning," supposing that 
the water may have leaked through from the large 
central baptismal cistern into the small well at the 
side, in which the boy had got fixed. 

There can be little doubt in Dante's description, 
which now follows, of the Simonists in their torment* 
he has wished^ not only to expose them to ridicule, 
but also to compare their punishment to the degrad- 
ing method of putting robbers and assassins to death 
by burying them head downwards, which was a 
common practice in those days. He treats them as 
plunderei-s of holy things, and as such, robbers of 
the worst kind, and we see further on (1, 49) that 
this idea was present in his mind, by his comparing 
himself to the friar standing just above the wretch 
dying in the hole. 

Fuof del la bocca a dascun soperchiava 

to an elaborate pyrotechnic diaplay on a car which is drawn 
up between the great doors of the Cathedral and those of the 
Baptisten', The dove is supposed to represent the Holy Ghost. 
The ceremony is watched with the keenest anxiety by the 
peasant-farmers of the environs, who flock into Florence lo 
witness it. The successful explosion of the firework is betieved 
to portend successful crops and abundant harvest for that 


Canto SIX. Rfodings on the Inferno. 


D' un peccalor li piedi, e delJe gambe* 
Inlino al grosso, e V altro denlro stava. 

Le pianie criiio a tutti acccac intrambc ; 
Per che si forte guizzavan le giunte, 
Che spcfzate averian ritorte f e strambc. | 

Qual auole il fiamnieggiar dclle cose unte 
Movers! pur su per I' eatrcma buccia ; 
Ta) era 11 da' calcagni alle punte.§ 

Forth from the mouth of each (hole) there pro- 
truded the feet of a sinner, and of the tegs as far 
a&lhe calf, and the rest rentiained inside. A]l of 
ihcm hud both the soles on lire ; wherefrom the 
joints were writhing so convulsively, ihat they 
would have snapped both withes and straw ropes. 



*ii pUJif ( iiillf gambe: For the variant here which reads 
diif if di e deiU gambe ^ not rnuch is to be said. 
^tiiortt : Flexible green willow or osier twigs or branches 
^liHd u bands to fasten faggots. ^* Riiorta^ Vermena verde La 
attorcigEiata serve per legame di faatcMa i faggnts} e di 
HHnailL" ( Vocabolario delta Crusca). Compare Judges xvi^ 
'And Samson said unto her^ If they bind me with seven 

ria vitha that were never dried, then shall I be weak^ and 
M another man. Then the lords of ihc Philistines brought 
Xto her seven green with? which had n»t been dried, and 
hound him with them,'' Compare Taaso, Amint^, Act iii, 
K. f :~ 

" E la planta medesma avea preatati 
Lcgami contra lej ; ch" una ntorta 
D' un pieghcvolc ramo avea a ciascuna 
Delle tcnere gambe." 
Ittrambt : These were ropes made of grassj plaited tut not 
twisted. The meaning of the line is th^t the struggles of the 
ket were so desperate, that they would have burst asunder 
•Oj kind of bonds. GcLli observes that the hides which came 
Barbarv m his lime wtre bound with strambe. 

^Tmlerg tl da* cuUagtii alie punte : Scartazzini thinks that 
tike flaming feet arc iTitcndcd as a direct contrast to th*^ nimhas 
■fcich would have adorned the heads of these Popes if they 
bad bcvn Miintly men who had laid up for themselves a erown 
•f flory. Instead of that, their avarice has only earned for 
borning feet. 

7S Readings on ike InferJio. Canto XIX. 

As the flaming: of oi]y things is wont to flicker on 
the outer surface only ; so was it there from the 
heels to the toC'poiots. 

Benvenuto sees an analogy between the flickering 
of the fire upon the surface of fat» greasy things, and 
the flames of Hell doing so upon the skin of the 
priestSt which was fat from their ill-gotten gains. 

Division II. — Dante's attention is now arrested by 
the sight of one of the sinners, whose limbs are 
jerking about with contortions more agonised and 
convulsive than those of his fellow-sufferers, and on 
whose feet a much redder flame is seen. His cur- 
iosity is aroused, and he asks Virgil who it is. 

— "Chi i: colui, Maestro, che si cruccia, 

Guiz^ando piil che gli altn suoi consorti/* — 
Diss' io, — " c cui pill ro£za fiamma !>uccia ? " — 
Ed egli a me :— " Se tu vuoi ch' io ti porti 

Laggiu per quella ripa ch« piil giace, 35 

Da lui saprai di s£ « dc' suoi torti/*— 

"Master," said I, "who is thai one who in his 
struggles is more infuriated than his companions, 
and whom a fiercer flame is devouring (lit. sucking 
up) ? " And he to me : " If thou wilt let me carry 
thee down by that cliff-side which lies lowest, thou 
shalt learn from him about himself and about his 

This new valley is the first of the Boige into which 
the Poets descend. They had looked down from the 
overhanging ramparts into those wherein the Seducers 
and the Flatterers were being punished. The cliff 
being too steep for Dante, with only his human 
power, to climb down, Virgil offers to carry him by 

Canto XIX. Readings on the Inferno. 


his spiritual agency. By the expression "the cliff- 
side which lies lowest" Virgil is referring to the one 
beyond the bridge on which they are walking. It 
fnust be remembered that in Malcbolge each succeed- 
ing valley is lower than the preceding one, as the 
whole of the Boi^^ incline towards the Pit in the 
centre. Consequently, as the Poets cross each 
bridge, they stand on a rampart of dark grey rock ; 
while on the oiher side of the valley the next line of 

irock lies at a lower level {piil giace), as well as being 
more sloping and practicable. Dante at once pro- 
fesses his readiness to go wherever Virgil thinks best 
for him. 

Ed io :^"Tamo m* 4 bcl,* quanta ft tc place : 

Tu sei si^norc, e sai ch* io non ml parto 
Dal tuo \oLt:re, c sai quel che si lace." — 

And I : *' Whatever seems good to thee, that much 

is pleasing to me : thou art my lord, and knoweat 
that I do not part me from thy will, and thou 
knowest that (desire of mine) which is unspoken/' 


Dante has from the first marked this figure whose 
\cf^ arc kicking so convulsively, as one with whom 
he would like to converse, and he at once admits 
tbAt Vifjgil has divined his thoughts^ 

*T*Mb>m' i bet: Compare Purg.xxv'i, 140, 141 : — 
"Tan m' abellia vostre corlcs dcman, 
Qm' ieu no-m pucsc, ni-m vueil a vos cobrire," 
1 Havc mvticir heard the pcasanCa who aeli fruit at the stAtiorvs 
on the rulway over the Apennines dbovc Pi^toja use the ex- 
prcsuon: '*Lt t' abbeUisctt" i.t. "Ta-kclhcm as it pleases you"; 
I ^ClmOK them according to your likih^/^ Compare also Par. 
(xxvit ijo-ijs: — 

'Opera naturalc h ch' uom f^vella ; 
Ma co»l o covlt natura Uscia 
Poi fare a voj Accondo chc v' abbella." 

Readings on the Inferno. Canto XIX. 

They now quit the third rampart, walk over the 
bridge that towers above the valley* and having 
crossed it, find themselves on the fourth rampart, 
beyond which is the Valley of the Diviners, with 
which we have nothing to do in this Canto. Having 
reached the fourth rampart, they turn to their left, 
and then Vir^l^ as a spirit, and temporarily endowed 
with supernatural powers, seats Dante on his hip, and 
lets himself go down the sheer side of the precipice. 

Allor venimmo in su T argine quarto ; * 

Volgemmo, ediscendemmo a mano stanca f 
LaggiLt, net fondo foracchiatoi ed arto. 

Lo buon Maestro ancor delU sua anca 
Non mi dipose, f,i mi ^iunse al rolto 
Di qud che st piangeva con la zanca.^ 

Then came we upon the fourth rampart ; we turned, 

and descended on our left hand down into that 
perforated and narrow bottom. And the good 
Master did not yet set me down from off his hip« 

* in su r argine quartos As we noticed above, it was ri' 
until after the Poets had crosst^d the bridge, and were con- 
fronted by the difhculity of descendini; the precipitous cliEf on 
the far side of it, (hat Virgil tonk Dante up on hU hip. 

t imi/io slducii : The left hand is called the lircd hand^ because 
being less strong ihan the right, it gets more easily wearied. 
Compare Varclii, Storia Finrfrititta, lib. ii, cap. 36: *^ Una dcHc 
quail [pUtiu:] ruppc 1' omero, e spex^fi di tronco tutto il braccici 
stancual Davilte di Michelagnolo." 

I piangeva can Ut zttnca : Some read "che si pingtua con Ul- 
xAnca" i.e. '*who was giving such kicks." But Blanc iSaggioi 
p. 189) interprets pitingtvtt thus ;— "Che dava segno di dolore 
con le janche," because, as the remainder of their bodies was 
underground, the shaties had no other mode of expressing 
their lamentations. The Suicides blow through the twigs 
and branches of the trees, the Fraudulent CounselEors cause 
their flame to twist and roar, and the Simonists kick their 
|eg3, alt to show their anguish. 


Canto xrx. Readings on the Inferno. 



unXiX he brought me to the orifice of {i.e. occupied 
by) him who with his shanks was making such 
aignft of distress. 

Dante's first words addressed to the Simonist 
'ope in the hate at his feet show anything but pity 
for his fallen condition. They seem partly to ridicule 
hirii few being stuck in the ground upside-down, and 
Dante ironically pretends not to know whether the 
shade can speak or not, although Vir^^il has just told 
him that he can,* and Dante ends — not by an en- 
treaty—but by a peremptory command to the shade 
»o speak, without even telling him what he wishes 
him to say. Scartazzini observes that the whole of 
Dante's dcracanour, and, later on, his stern denuncia- 
ton of the vices of the Church, would seem almost 
iQexplicably bold on his part towards a Pope, were 
it not that he had been carried to the spot by Virgil, 
wbo is a symbol of Imperial authority, and in that 
*sy the allej^ory becomes easy to understand. Not 
Kis bold is Dante's comparison of himself, leaning 
over the prostrate Pope, to a confessor crouching 
<'vcr the hole in which the haU-buried assassin is 
ttking to be shriven before the earth is thrown in. 

^-''O quat che se', chc ^1 di su (ten di sotto, 

Animt tritta^ come paJ commcssa,'* — t 
Comtnciii* io & djr, — " bc puol, fa motto " — 

^__V ^— 

•Betiwrnuto, hfiwcver, givc^a very plausible reason for 
I^uMc'b inquiry : " Hoc pro tant^^dicit quia non videbatyr bene 
>WiMniir, quod WW pnsHrt bt^ne Inqui, qui habebat os repletum 
iBffra, ideo autor stabat multum attcntus." 

tMMw pal cvmrniiiA : "Scilicet plantata ct fixa ad modiim 
mU fitrttter, ita quod non potes indc divclli. aed semper slabis 
mi, 4ae«c venivt psUit novus, qui dctrudet le dccessum." 

11. F 

la stava Lome iL frate* che confessa 

Lo perfido assassin, che poi ch' e fitto, 
Richiama lut, perchji la morte ccssa.f 

*'0 wretched Soul, whoe'er thou art that keepest 
thy upper part undermost, planted like a stake," I 
began to say, "give utterance, if thou canst." I 
was in the attitude of the friar who is shriving the 
treacherous assassin, who, after he is fastened 
(down in the hole), recalls him, because (thereby) 
he defers his death. 

GelH thinks that there was but one of the hole 
devoted to the Simoniaca! Popes, and that the Eaa 
comer had to remain with his feet burning on tt 
outside until another Pope came to displace hit 
when he would fall lower down. This may possiblj 
also be intended as an ironical taunt, in allusion to a 
practice of interring the Pope last deceased in a 
tomb at St. Peter's specially devoted to that purpose, " 
and which his body would occupy only until that of 
his successor is brought to rep'ace his. The practice, 
however, has now ceased. 

This shade whom Dante is addressing is that of 
Pope Nicholas III, of the great Roman family of the 
Orsini, whose cognisance was a she-bear (orsa). He 

* la sfava come U frate : Here ^.tart does not mean *'to 
' Btand." The friar would nnt be standing, but crtjuchingdown, 
or kneeling by the hole, with his head lowered close to it so as 
in hear the confession of the wretch below. The two French 
translations of Lamennais and Briscux very correctjy render 
the passage; "Je me tenais comnie le fr&re, etc, 

iherchi la mofie assa : Note that assart i& not a neuter verb 
in this passage, but an acitve verb, with the signification "to 
put off, to retard, to delay/' Many translators have rer^dercd 
it : "recalls him, that death maybe delayed." If that w-%-re so, 
the verb ought to be ccssi in the subjunctive mood, and not 
Uisa in Ihc indicative. 

I XIX. Headinf^K on the Inferno, 


never lost a chance of enriching his relations by 
Simony of ever)' kind, even (as Gelli relates) before 
he was elected Pope, and during his whole after-life. 
He died in 1280. We are to suppose the present 
scene to have taken place in 1300. Nicholas III 
M been succeeded by Martin IV (12S1-S5) : Ho- 
norius IV (1285-87); Nicholas IV (1288-92); and 
ifter these came Celestine V. Kenedelto Caetani 
lAtained the papacy (i2g4) by terrifying the timid 
Celestine into resignation. He was then elected 
himself, assumed the title of Boniface VIII, and 
persecuted Celestine to death.* (See Giov. Villani^ 
viii, 6; and Milman, Lai. Christ, book xi, chap. 7.) 

Dante metaphoricalfy supposes that Nicholas, 
jMdowed, like alt the lost in Hell, with foresight of 
^Kng events, knew that Boniface was to die in 
•IJBJ, and did not expect to find him there in 1300 ; 
^Ubat from this passage, and from L 82 et $cq„ we 
^■take it as clearly demonstrated that the Divina 
Hnn/iiid was not written before 1303- Nicholas, 
Hmore, is struck with wonder at hearing what he 
tfamks is the voice of Boniface, and he cannot imagine 
why he is standing on his feet, and not at once thrust 
hesd downwards. It is under this misapprehension 
j^t he addresses Dante as Boniface. 
^B Ed ei gridA:--*' Sei tu g)& costi rtttD,t 

^,•1 lake my authority for the above statements from Ben- 

Gelli, RoMctti. Bia^ioli, Lord Vernon {Iti/nrno), and 


tu gid cosii ritto : '* Ritlo in quanto non t ancora stato 

1 c catciato ton la testa in giu ncl foro, come era Nic- 

gti altri papn Sei adunque cosCii ritto per esser dicht- 

(CaatclvctroJL Btser rittv, star ritl'\ or siar in pUdi, are 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto : 

Sei lu gih costi ritto, Banifaiio ? 
Di parecchi anni mi menti In scritto.* 
Se' tu SL tnsto di quelT aver sa^io, 

Per lo qua[ non temesti torre a inganno 
La bella Donna, e poi di fame stra^io }"f— 

And he cried : "Art thou standing there already, 
art thou standing there already, Boniface ? (then) 
by several years has the book of destiny played ' 
me false. Art thou so soon glutted with that < 
wealth for which thou didst not fear to capture by 
fraud the beauteous Lady (the Church), and then 
to pillage her ? " 

The Oitiino remarks that a man can do no gres 
outrage to the wife he has espoused than by putt 
her up by auction to the highest bidder. Nichola* 
is here taunting Boniface with his avarice, and with 
the fraud by which he obtained the papacy^ This 

the only terms in Ita'Iian equivalent to tht English verb "t** 
iitand." As the present writer has often pointed out, itare (tty 
itself) simply means "to abide." Sec Kaidin^s on the Purga^ 
torw, 2nd edition^ vol. \ pp. i+S, 149, footnote on Purg, iv, 104: 
"Ctte si stavano aW ambra," 

*to scfitto : The Qran Dinionario say>t the word aa u^cd ir 
this passage means Previiione del fuiuro, 

f/arne strazio ^ " to destroy her, to outrage her, to pillage 
her." Lamennais translates " la saccager." 
Compare Petrarch, Part II, Sonnet 83 (in some editions 311}:— 
" Fuor di man di colui [Amorsl che punge e molce^ 
Che gifi fcce di mc si lungo strazio, 
Mi trovo in libertate amara e dolcc.*' 
Both Benvenuto and the Oltimo interpret tt*rre. "to wed 
forcibly" and of fame strazio Benvenuto says r '* Scilicet in- 
honeste tractandoeam^ ct piostituendo lamquam merrtricem." 

I Throughout the DiviHia Cowme^ta Dante shows much 
hatred against Boniface Vtll, not only as a Guclph, but alaci 
because to Boniface he attributed his exile and subsequenl 
adversitv. In Inf. xxvii, 85, d fn/ , he calls him 

" Lo Principe de' fiuovj Fariseit" 
jind makes Guido da Monteft.-hro relate how, by his insidioiii 

Canto XIX, R^ading^ on the Inferno, 


already been fully discussed in Canto in, in sl 
tit on Colui che/cce per vHiti lo f(tan rifiuio^ namely, 
elcstine V, intimidated by Boniface. 
Dante describes himself as utterly perplexed at 
strang"e words that proceed out of the ground 
flow him, and also at hearing himself addressed as 
Bixiifacc. Nicholas had twice repeated the question 
S(i tu ^a coift riiU) ? before Dante is able to frame an 
answer; and when he does, it h at the instance of 
Virjjilr who makes him in his turn utter his reply 
twice aver, Non son coluif etc. 

Bonificr induced him to give the fraudulent counsel 
T'lvcd his soul. In Par, xxvii, 3^, et stq,^ St. Peter 
St Banifa.ce a. denunciation so terrible ttia,t the 
nr ncj'-cn turns red with anger;— 

"'^^urieSi ch' usurpa in territ il loco mio, 
II loco miu, LI loco miiD» chc vaca 
Nella presenza del Pig;liuo] dl Dio, 
Pafto ha del cimitcro mio cloaca 

Del sanguc e della pux^a, onde i) perversa, 
Che cadde di quassCi, Uggiii %i placa/ 
Di quel color che per lo sole awerso 
Nubc dipinge da sera e da mane,. 
\'id' iti allora tuUo il ctel cosperso." 
(Esiais, livrc l), ch. t) in speaking of the extra- 
contradictions lo be noticed in the charactcm nf men, 
: ** Lr jcune Ntarius se trcuvc tantost fills de Mars, lantont 
V'mui : le papc Boniface huictiesmc entra, diet on, en 
commc un ref^nard, s* y porta comme un lion, ct 
commc t:hicn." Giov. ViJIani (viii, cap, 6) writes of 
e that he was " extremely ^rasping^ for money, both Id 
the Chuich and hi» own relations, having »o sort of 
:e about it, and ctAyinti that all was lawful to him of 
iA the Church." And ibid. cap. 64 : " He was liberal 
cd to people he liked or who were valorouA, very 
ItUy splendour befitting his hi^h estate . . . [but he 
tj more m'orldly than his di^nitv required, and had done 
ny thinitft^ diftpleaNing to Ood/' Giovanni Villani. who 
Pope Boniucc ao severely, was not a GhibeHine, but a 

[ cbar^ 


86 Reading on ike Inferno, 

TaE mi Fee io quai son color che stanno^ 
Per nan inttndcr cio th' & lor risposio, 
Qua^i 5cornati, e rispunder non sanno^ 

AUor Virgilio disse : — '* Digli loslo, 

Non son colui, non son colui che credi:" — 
Ed io risposi come a me fu tmpoato, 

I became like those who, from not understanding 
what is said to them, remain as though put to 
shame, and know not what to answer. Then 
Virgil said : •' Tell him at once, ' 1 am not he, 1 
am not he whom thou thinkest : * " and I made 
answer as was enjoined me. 

^Division III.* — The shade of Nicholas, on hearing 
Dante disavow his identity with Boniface VllI, 
shows much irritatfon. He had replied readily 
enough to the voice which he had thought was that 
of Boniface come to occupy the uppermost place 
instead of him ; but as soon as he finds that tt pro- 
ceeds from some one else, he asks the unknown 
speaker: "If you are not Boniface, what business 
can you have with me ? " He tells Dante, however, 
who he was, and who are the Simoniacal Popes that 
will in their turn take his place. 

Pef che Io spirto tutto slorse i piedi : t 

Poi so&pirando, c can voce di pjanto, 6) 

Mi disse : — " Dunque che A me richjedi ? 

*' Bcnvenuto begins Division III at 1. 67^ but it seems Xo me 
better la take it from I. 64, so that it may include the whatc of 
Nicholas lU'a speech to Danle. 

+ (ifttii stitrsf. i picdi ; I follovw here the rending of Witte, Buti, 
the jesi edition, and others. Although Dr. Mootc reads tmtti 
in tne Oxford Dante, he is by nn means inditfercnt to the clairat 
of the reading tutto. In Tixtuai Critichm, pp. ^^5. 326, he 
writes: "This is a case to which the arKui^ents for tutta and 
tulii appear Io be pretty evenly balanced; tmtti was found in 
87 MSS. ; iutto in 71 MSS. Hlanc (6'i^f in, p. 192) cuntcodft 

Sc di saper chi io sia ti cal cotanto* 
Che 1u abbi peri!} la ripa cor:sa, 
Sappi ch' io fui vestito del gran manta ;t 

igly fof tutti chiefly on ihe ^ourid Ihat the word tutto was 
to have been altered because of its inapplicability to two 
Per cantra, however, it might be argued that Ihe lingular 
tutUy may have been altered because of its inapphcability to 
the plural pU4\, by thoiiie who were unaware of the quasi- 
advcrbiaJ use of the adjective." For example, take \. 12 of 
this Canto: — 

" E quanto gius/o tua virti) comparte ! " 

**. . , Maestro, assai chiaro procede 
L.a tua ragionc \ " 
Par, xvii, 94, 93 ;— 

"e diiftse coae 
tncredibili a qaei che^w present*." 
Dr. Moore remarks that Blanc (^.ir.) quotes some very striking 
pauAges in favour of tuUi^ but that instances of the adverbial 
nccif/v'fd are also very numerous. Scana^zlni, in his Leipzig 
edition uf KS74, and in hifi first Milan edition of 1893 read tuUi 
ami censured tutto; but in all his subsequent editions he read^ 

*li cai cot4tHto : GelJi interprets this, s( tu fai pcrb si gran 
itima "if thou attaches! such great importance thereto," etc, 
BUnc [ihid.) thinks caUrt^ though derived immediately from 
dK Latin, has in Italian a somewhat different sense, namely, 
"to care about." Compare Purg. viii, la: — 

*'Come dicesse a Dio: ' D' altro noQ calme;'" 
Aiut Puri- wx, 135 :— 

*'. . . si poco a lui ne calse ■, " 
And /*"»'£. «wi. 4^ S'— 

^ Ed cssi quinci e quindi avean parete 
D) non caler." 
f£r^m mamto : The great mantle of St. Peter was, in 
time »( Dante, the insignia oF the Papal digmty^ just as the 
Tmt* ia now. The Popes were vested in it at their coronation. 
Compare Inf. ii, j6, 27 ;— 

" Tntcsc co»e, che furon cagione 
Di sua vittona e del papale ammanto." 
xiXi 99* t^^ good Pope, Adrian V^ after saying to 

i<xoj, 104):— 

** Va nie»c c poco piu prova' Io come 
Peaa il gran manto." etc. 

E veramente fui Bgliuol dell' orsa, 

Cupido si per avanaar gli orMtli,* 
Che su L' avere, e qui me nitsi in barsa. 

Whereat the spirit vehemently writhed his feet: 
then sighing, and with a voice of lamentation, he 
said unto me: "What then dost thou want with 

*figUuoi di!V orsa . . . orsatii : According^ to the AncHtmo 
Fionntino^ members of the Orsini family habitually signed 
themselves de fidis unae. Buti and Gclli both remark that 
thL-re IS no animal so gluttorLCvus as a bear, and the name tallies 
well with the characteristics ol Nicholas. Bcnvcnuto dra\i-$ ft 
heavy indiclment against him: '* In the year [276 Nicholas 
III, of the Orsini at Rome, was elected Pope. While he was 
only a priest and a cardinal^, he had been an upright and wdl- 
conductcd man; but as soon as he was m^de Pope, he did 
everything in his power to aggrandise his own family; and he 
was the first Pope in whofie Court Simony was openly prac- 
tised for the benefit of his relations. He endowed them with 
property, money and casttes. In a very short spjce of time 
he created seven Koman Cardinaln, most of whom were of hJs 
family, . . , iit had many noble palaces built hard by St* 
Ptter's ; he made Rudolph (of Hapshurg) the King of the 
Romans surrender to him the City oi Bologna and the County 
of Romagna, because he had not fulfilled his promise of cross- 
ing the Alps into Ita[y. This was not accounted a jusi trans- 
action, for Rudolph had been prevented by his wars at home 
from coming to receive the papal benediction. But what 
churchmen once take they rarely relinquish ; and he made his 
nephew, Bertoldo, Count of Roma^na, and he nominated as 
Legate, Cardinal Latino^ his sister^s non. And from the above 
we may jud^e whether or no Pope Nichf^las of the Orsini wai^ 
greedy after the advancement of bis own family ** 

Petrarch, in his noble Cunzonc to Cola di Rien^i, beginning 

Spirto ^ttttit (Part Iv, Canx. 2), represents the Orsini, figured as 

the Bears, making war against the House of Colonna: — 

"Orsi, lupi, leoni, aquile, e serpi 

Ad una gran marmorea Colonna 

Panno noja sovente, ed a 9i danno: 

Di cosEor piagne quetia geniil donna 

Che t* ha chiamato, accio che di lei alerpi 

Le male piante, chc Borir non aanno. 

Ahi nova gente oitra misura altera, 
irreverente 11 tanta, ed a tal madre t ' 


If thou carest so much to know who I am, 
thai ihou hast for this descended the bank, know 
that t was vested with the Great Mantle (of the 
Popes) : and verily I was a son of the She-Bear 
(i.f. one of the Oraini family), so greedy to advance 
the Bear-cubs, that up there (on Earth) I put 
wealth, and down here (in Hell I put) myself into 
the pouch. 

This is a play upon the words. Pope Nicholas is 
in the Third Bolgia. The primary meaning of Bol^ia 
(see note on Bolgia at pp. 33^ 34 of this volume) is 
purse, pouch, or wallet. 

Nicholas now explains to Dante that his position 
is a transition state, and that as the new comer 
arrives, his predecessor sinks down into the cavern 
below. He hints that he had mistaken Dante for 
ir Di idtto fli capo m\a son gji aUri tratti 

^H Che prcccdctter me simnneggiando, 

^^^^ Per k fessure dc!h pietra piatti. 73 

^^^^ Luggiu cascherA ia altresi. quando 

^^^H Vcrrd colui ch' io crcdca chc tu foBst, 

^^^^ AUnr ch' io feci il subito domando. 

^r Beneath my head are dragged down the others 

H who preceded me in Simony, flattened through the 

■ (iascres of ihe rock. Down there likewise shall I 

H drop, when that one shall come whom I thought 

H thou «*»st, then when t put that sudden question, 

I II IS generally supposed by Commentators that the 
r Sunoniacal Popes, when they drop down, lie flat on 
the jTTound heaped up one on the top of the other, 
BUnc (Saggio) feels uncertain as to whether the 
burning of their feet then ceases. He thinks it does, 
because, in the ver^ics that now follow, Nicholas 
&ccms to allude to a terminable period for each to 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto XIX. 

remain with his feet scorchinf^. But the fact of lying 
flat upon the ground isj Blanc considers, distinctly 
in analogy with the penalty of the Avaricious in 
Purgatory {Purg, xix, 73)^ who all lie with their faces 
turned to the earth, and breathe forth the words of 
the Psalmistj My soid ilawcih unto the dust (Ps. cxix. 
25), So here in Hell these Popes, whose ga^e should 
ever have been fixed on Heaven, as a penalty for 
having instead turned their thoughts to earthly 
things, have to grovel to all eternity in close prox' 
imity to the earth. As kings they were anointed 
with oil upon their heads, but now they are anointed 
with tire upon their feet ; and as in life they donned 
red buskins, so now have they their feet ever redden- 
ing in the flames of Hell. 

Nicholas now prophesies that after Boniface there 
will come another Pope, whose guilt will be even yet 
more atrocious, and he hints that it is some one 
connected with the Court of the King of France, 
Philippe le Bel, 

Mai piu h tl tempo* gik che i pi& mi cossi, 

E ch' )o son fitato cos! sottosopra, So 

Ch' ei nan atar^ piantatot coi pt& rosgi ; 

*/ii^ i r7 tetnpo, et seq. : Pope Nicholas III had died on 22nd 
Auj^ust, T^So, so that according to tht: supposed date of Dante'> 
Vision, he would have been twenty years wjth his feet burning. 
Boniface VIII died on nth October, 1J03, and his successor 
Clement V on ^aoth April, 1314; so that Boniface is supposed 
to be doomed to the topmost place for only eleven years as 
against the t^vcnty of Nicholas III, " Dante in all probability 
wrote this passage before Clement's death, but had reason to 
bdieve he would nttt live long enough to falsify the prediction." 
(Caylcy's PttU, 1855)= 

ipiftntitio: This is, of course, an allusion to the mode of 
execution called pfQ^aggmartt by which condemned assassinSf 

■^Zantn xtx. Readings on the Inferno, 



Che dope tui vcrri, di piu Laid' opra, 

Di \'hx ponente* un pastor scnza legge.t 
T&\ chc convien che lui e me ricapro. 

Nuovo Ia3on{ sari, di cui si leggc S5 

Nc* Maccabei; e come a quel fu mollc 
Suo re, coal fia a loi chi Francia rcggc," — 

But toiiger is the time already that 1 have been 
roasting my feet, and that I have thus remained 
upside-dowHT than he (Boniface) shall remain 
planted with hi& feet red: since after him will 
come from the Westward (Gascony) one of yet 
fouler deeds (Clement V), a Pastor devoid of all 
law, one who will have to cover both him and me. 
He will be a new jason, of whom we read in the 
Macc&bees: and as to him (Jason) his King 
(Antiochus) was pliant, so to him (Clement) will 
be he who rules Prance." 

aad especially treacherous ones, were fylanteJ Eike vineH, being 
bstcncd head downwards in a hole dug tor that purpose, and 
were then choked to death by the hole bcin;; filled up. The 
old decrees ot Florence say : /Ixfcis^inHs plantctur capiU dconun 
ita f »Mf utifriaiur. 

* Di per pontntc : This refers tn the Gascon origin of 
Clement V. 

tua paitor uma itjCX' ■ ^^c personage here alluded to is 
Clement V, whose name was Bertrand dc Gottii, a native of 
Gaacony. and who by the influence of Philippe le Bti was 
elected Pope in t 305. Giov. Vitlani (viii, caps. 80, 81 ; and ix^ 
y^) spealcs at great length d( his election, his misrule, his 
ftim^>niacal practices, of the Cardinals he created, of his im- 
moml life, and of his death, 

XJ^sen : This was a son of the High Priest Simun 11, who 
by DeAnS' of gross bribery succeeded in superseding his own 
brolber OnisH III as High Priest, having procured by the pro- 
noBC of an increased tribute his appomtment by Antiochus 
Epipluuvea. Sec 2 Maccab. iv, 7, 8 : '* But after the death of 
SttkroClMi when Antiochua, called Epiphanes, took the king- 
dom. Ja«on the brother of Unias laboured underhand to be 
bigb piie^tf promising unto the king by intercession three 
EMndned and threescore talents of silver, and of another 
reveatte nghty talenta.** 

Readings on ihi Inferno. Canto XIX 


Benvenuto points out that the comparison i 
admirable. The wicked High Priest Jason is com— — ' 
pared with the wicked Pontiff Clement, and Kin^ '^ 
Antiochus with King FhiMp [Ic Bel} \ and in both 
cases was the High-priesthood simoniacally bought 
and sold. "But," adds Benvenuto, "what would 
Dante have said if he had lived to see Pope Clement 
VI, who was even more corrupt and more carnal 
than the Clement spoken of here, for he poured forth 
the whole of the great treasure of the Church to 
subsidise John King of France against the King of 
England [Edward III]; and yet after all both the 
money and the victory passed into the hands of the 
English, the King [of France] being defeated and 
taken prisoner in the field.'^ 


Divisimi I\^ — Uante has listened, with what 
patience he could summon, to the lengthy confes- 
sion by Pope Nicholas respecting the Simony and 
avarice of himself and his two successors, but he 
now bursts into indignation, hrst, against the ^ilt 
of Nicholas himself in particular, and afterwards 
that of the Pastors of the Church in general. The 
whole of his utterances have the ring of a sermon, 
and there may be in them the intention of ironically 
showing that they whose duty it was to preach td^ 
others, are themselves in need of being preached to,^' 
Some have tried to prove that in so interpellating 
one who was in life the head of the Church. Dante fl 
was showing want of reverence for the Church itself, " 
but this view cannot be sustained. The whole of 
Dante's interview with the good Pope Adrian V, ini 

Canto XIX Readings on ike Inferm. 

Pitrg. xix exhibits Dante as a most devoted and a 
most reverent son of the Church, with a marked 
deference for those who worthily held the chief offices 
in it. Even in the lines that follow^ Dante prefaces 
his address to Nicholas by excusing himself for the 
I severity of the language he is about to use. 

L Jo non so B* la mi fut qui troppo ioUe,* 

I Ch* in pur risposi lui a. questn metro *. t 

^^^ ^'' Deh or mi di", quanto tcsoro voile 90 

^^H Kcisiro Signore in prima da «an Fietro, 

^^^ Che ponesQc |e chiavi J in sua balia? 

' *fotte: Dante pretends to hesitate as to whether he was not 
\txy unwise in utterinji; hh words of cen:>urc. Scarla^^ini dncii 
not Agree with the general interpretation oi JolU as timtrario. 
He thinks the two words arc widely diflfcrent, and thai folU 
should be taken Jn its literal meaning of "fooLish," and that 
Dante would say: " Perhaps it was foolii^h of me to waste so 
much time in censuring one who was already damned, seeing 
that my reproofs coutd no longer be of the sJi^hteyt use," 
Ca&ini agrees with Scartazzini^ and their view is that of Buti, 
who renders /o/il^ "atolto," Gelli says that Dante finding in 
Hell three Popes guilty of Simon)', would probably think the 
Church in so deplorable a condition, that for him to utter n 
word of censure would seem utter folly, and that "si aarebbe 
votontieri tatiuto, giudtcando chc it reprendere dove non si 
poA fare sc non acquistare odio, fusse^aiatJi. Ma considcrando 
" I che lal coaa apparticne a L' onore dl Dio^ onde ai dcbbe 
ujrla »enfa riftpetto alcuno, ai delibur^ a farla. E pero 
', quasi che per sua ecusa del Tare tai cosa. in quanto a la 
pmden^a umana: ia non 10 sc io mi Jtti m questo tuo^o irof*po 
fdlt, eio^ Kloilo " 1 think it on the whole better to follow the 
above iDlcrpfctation of Buti and Gelli rather than that of 
Bcnvcnuto, who uses the word tenurarinsta.nd thinks, speaking 
^rttcrallf, that it would not be right to utter wordH of censure 
m public to so great a personage, but for the fact that Dante 
writes as » poet, and truth urges him not to spare. 

fMrirv; Note that Dante, after referring to the speech he is 
now about to utter aa ifitisto mrifv, concludes it by saying 
a, iifi>, mtnirt io gU catttava cittai »oU. 

* k ektavi : Compare Sftttl. xvi, 17-19 : ** And Jesus answered \ 
an4 Mid un|o him, i31cssed art thou, Simon Bar-jona : » 

Readings tyn tfte Infcnw. Canto xix. 

Cerlo non chiese se nan : ' Vicmmi retro.* * 
N£ Pier n^ gU altn tolscro t a Matlia J 

Oro od argenlo, quando fti sortilo gj 

Al loco che perd^ V anima ria» 
Pcro ti sta, che tu ae* ben punito ; 

E guarda ben la mal tolta Tnoneta^i^ 

Ch' eaaer ti fece contra Carlo ardito. 

I know not if here 1 was too foolish, in thai I 
simply answered him in this strain : " Fray tell 
me now, how much treasure did our Lord require 
from St. Peter before He entrusted the keys to his 
keeping ? He surely asked nothing of him save : 
'Follow thou me.' Nor did Peter or the others 
extort from Matthias gold or silver, when he was 

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon thiB 

rock I will build my church ; and the Rates of hell shall not 
prevail against it. And I y^'xW give unto thee the keys of the 
kingdom of heaven : and whatsoever thou shaU bind on earth 
shall be bound in heaven ; and whatsoever thou shall loose 
on earth shall be loosed in heaven," 

* Viemmi retro: These are the words of our Lord to St. 
Peter and St. Andrew by the Sea of Galilee, hfatL iv, ig : *' And 
he aaith untn them, Follnw me^ and I will malce you iishers of 
men,'* Compare aX^o John xxi^ 22: '* Jesus saiih unto him [St. 
Peter], If 1 will that he tarry till I come, what is ibat to 
thee? Follow thou me." 

ftoisero: Others^ including Wittc^readtftMa^ro "demandcdj** 
but Dr. Moore has informed me that the reading taisere has an 
overwhelming preponderance of MS. authority. Besides, it 
contrasts well with la mal tolta moncta in I, 9IJI. 

XMaUiii: Compare Acts 1,26: "And they gave forth their 
lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he wa^ numbered 
with the eleven apostles." 

^guafiia ben la mat tolia inoneta : Compare Acts viii, 20: " Bui 
Peter said unto him [Simon Magus], Thy mnncy perish with 
ihcc, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be 
purchased with money." Nichulas had previously said of him- 
self that he whs Cupido si , . , che su /' avere^ c qui me misi in 
borsa. Danlc now says to him in so many words : '' Now that 
you arc in the purse, hoard up the iU-acquired treasure with 
which John of Procida bribed you." 

Canto XIX, Readings on the Inferno. 95 

by lot appointed to the post which the guilty soul 
(Judas Iscanot) had forfeited. Therefore stay 
thou (here), for thou art rightly punished ; and 
take good care of the ill-gotten money, which 
caused thee to be presumptuous against Charles. 

Nicholas III was so elated with pride of wealth, 
that he sought an alliance between his niece and a 
nephew of Charles of Anjou, King of Sicily ; which 
bein^ haughtily rejected* the Pope was said to have 
been bribed into joining a combination against King 
Charles, with John of Procida and the Kin^ of 
Aragon ; from which — after his own death — resulted 
the famouis massacre of the French in Sicily, known 
in history* as the Sicilian Vespers. Benvenuto relates 
that King Charles's answer was to the effect that 
although the Pope wore red shoes, he was not 
worthy of entering into affinity with a King; and 
Villani makes Charles say in addition, that a King is 
bom to his dignity, whereas a Pope is merely elected. 

Dante, having already spoken in pretty strong 
lAtiguage. now e?tcuses himself that he does not say 
more* and make use of even stronger terms on 
account of his reverence for the pontihca) dignity; 
"and yet," says Benvenuto, "it seems to me that 
Dante is giving that rhetorical colour which is 
termed Occttpatio. because he professes to be unwill- 
ing^ to say that which as a matter of fact he does say 
very forcibly indeed/^ 

E AC non fo!>se, che Ancor \o mi vjeta log 

La nvercnza dclle sammc chiavi, 
Che tu tenesti nelU vita lieta,* 

*mtOa riia lieia : Compare Inf. vU 5I1 where Ciacco calls Itfe 
I the wurld Ut vita isrenu ; Inf. iv, S7t where Brunettu L^tmi 

q6 Readings on the Inferno. Cantd 

I' userei parole ancor piu gravi ; 

Ch^ la vostra avarizia il mondo attrista, 
Calcando i buoni e aollcvando i pravi. 105 

And were it nat that reverence for the Supreme 
Keys which thou hetdest in the gEadsome tife even 
now forbids it to me, I would use words stiit more 
severe ; because the avarice of you (corrupt Pastors) 
aflBicls the world* trampling down the good and 
exalting the bad. 

Up to this point Dante has been addressing his 
words to Nicholas III. or at any rate up to the last 
two lines, where he says '* vostra avart^ia il mondo 
altrista," but in them he has chanj^ed from the 
singular to the plural^ and the rest of his censure 
is directed against the ecclesiastical hierarchy in 

He shows that this avarice in her chief Pastors 
is one of the great tribulations and persecutions 
which the Church of God is undergoing, and to 
prove his words, he cites a prophecy of St. John, who 
{Rev, xvii, i) * describes how the Angel showed him 
the harlot that sitteth upon the waters, St John 

■^Sc ben m' sccorsi nella vita bella.'" 
In ftf/. Xi 6g Cavalcanti asl<s Dante of his son Guido : — 

"Non fiere ^li occhi auoi lo dolcc lome ?" 
and ibid, 82, Farinata sayR:— 

"E se tu mai nel dojce mondo reggCt" etc. 
* Rev, xvii^ 1-3; "And there came one of the seven angels 
which had the seven vials, and talked with me, ^^aying unto me. 
Came hither: 1 will show unto thee the judgment of the great 
whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings 
ol the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants 
of tin; cjrth ha\'d been made drunk wilh the wine of her forni- 
cation^ So he carried mc away in the spirit into the wilder- 
ness : and i saw a woman sit upim a scarlet-coloured beast, 
111! of names of blasphemy having seven heads and ten horns." 

Canto XIX. Readings on ike htfemo. 


was speaking of Pagan Rome, but Dante, like others 
who lived in his time, and notably Petrarch,* inter- 
preted the reference to mean Christian Rome under 
such Popes as Nicholas III^ Boniface VIIl^ and 
Clement V. In denouncing the avarice of Rome he 
identifies her with the great harlot, the Babylon of 
ihe Apocalypse. 

Dl vol paslor a' accorse il Vangelista, 

Quando colei, chc siede sopra V acqucj 

^^B *I| it worthy of notice that Prtrarch also expressed him- 
^^mmeli with great indignation against the Popes of his timer. Sec 
^H PetrarchfT Optra quat txstant cmniit, BasilcaCt 1554* fol.j p^ Bo?* 
^"^ E^U, sine ntulo, Jiviii : " Tu autcm gaude^ contrnrio saltern 
mastiitra virtutum, ^audc (inquam) et ad aliquid utilis, inventa 
gloriarc, bonorum hostis et maJorum hospes, atque asylum 
pcaaiitia rerum Babylon, ftrifl, Rhodstni ripis imposita, famosa 
<ltcain ati mfamis merctrix, fornrcata cum regibu^ terrae. IlUi 
e^uUrm if>sa fs, quam in spirita mcer vxdit Evangtthta. Ilia 
eadetn. inquain, ea, nnn alia, sedens super aquas mullas, sivc 
ad litcram tribus cinct.i fluTntnibus, sive rerum atque divitiarum 
tuf ba mortabum quibus lascivicns ac secura insidcs opuni im- 
iMcmor adcmarum bivc ut idem qui vidil cxposuit. Populi tt 
gotcft, et linguae, aquae Kunt, super quaa merelrix sedes, 
racopaOBCe habitum/' 

C«ry quntc:^ a passage rrom the writings of Richard Hurd, 
Bnbop of Worcester, in which the Bishop points out that 
"numbcrlcM paK^agcs in the writings of Petrarch speak of 
Rome under the name of Babylon. But an equal strciis ia not 
to be laid on all these. It should be remembered that the 
Aipca, in Petrarch's time, resided at Avignon, greatly to the 
dttpAn^ement of thcniselve»t ^s he thought, and especially of 
Kmhc; of which this singular man was Itttle less than idolat- 
rooft. The situation of the place, surrounded by waters . - . 
braof^t to his mind the condition of the Jewish Church in the 
Babylonian captivity.'' Gary adds: "The application that ia 
crca^ cf these prophecies by two men so eminent for their 
ind sagacity as Dante and Petrarch, is, however, 
-rkable* . , . Such applications were indeed frequent 
.-■- trie Middle Ages. . , . Balbn observes [in hsa Lift of Duntt]^ 
i-iit It IS not komc, um most erroneously interpreted, but 
A 1 lienor) and thr Court there, whith iti termed iJabylon by 
Uanfc and I'ctrarch," 

II. G 

■ » 

g8 Readings on the In/erno. Canlo xix. 

Puttaneggiar co' regi a Liji fii vista : 
Quella chc con ie &>£tte teste nacque, 

E dalle diecL corna ebbe argomento.* 
Fin che virtute al sud mariCo piacque. 

Pastors like you the Evangelist had in his mind, 
when she that sitteth upon the waters was seen by 
him to commit fornication with kings; she that 
was born with the Seven Heads, and from the Ten 
Horns had her scheme of government;, for so long 
aa virtue was pleasing unto her 'spouse (i.f. so 
long as the Pope, the husband of the Church» took 
pleasure in virtue). 

The Pope is here signified as the Spouse of the 
Church. So long as the Popes were virtuous and 
uncorrupt, the Church was governed in accordance 
with the Divine Law. By the Seven Heads are to 
be understood, according to some, the Seven Sacra- 
ments of the Church, according to others the Seven- 
fold Gifts of the Holy Spirit, or the Seven Virtues. 

*ar^omcnto : Nearly every Commentator and translator has 
a different version of this word. Foletto {Dizxonario Ditttteico\ 
quotes Dante's use of it tn Par. xxlv, 63, as beinf; "evidence of 
things not seen." But the Vocabolario della Crusca, white 
quoting the iatUy passage with that meanin/f, ^ives the following 
version for this passage : '* Talora per figurazione (Dante, In/. 
xix) : ' Che dalle dicci corna cbbc argomento.' " This is also 
the interpretation given by Buti; "ebbe argomento; cio4 
fipuraxionc : Imperii chc argomento ft ingegno ct industria 
siccome si dice: Tu nt>n Ai argomento vcruno; ct artjoTucnto 
& figurazione, e cosi si piglia qui: imperb la aanta fcdc di 
Cristo fu figurala per Ic fij^ure chc son nell' antjca Icgge." 
Scartazzini and Tommaseo both interpret; '*Modo di govcrn- 
are." Gelli : "erbb« argomento e stability dalle dieci corna." 
Blanc and Biagioli translate it: ** proof." Cary also. La- 
mennais: "signe/* Carlyle: 'Mvitness.*' Pollock: **lokcn." 
Longfellow: "power and strength." Lubin : "cbhe argo- 
mento, cioi, cbbe suo avanzamento." Tozer : "took her rule 
of life from." .After much hesitation, I have followed the 
interpretation of Tommasfio and Scariazzinii, '* scheme of 

7»nt^fTx- Readings on the Inferno. 


The Ten Homs are nearly universally accepted as 
signifving the Ten Comniandments. The intention, 
however, is clear. The Church should have been 
governed according to the Virtues, both cardinal 
and moral, according to the Old Testament as in- 
dicated by the Ten Commandments, and according 
to the New Testament as indicated by the Holy 

Blanc {Saggio) points out that in these lines one 
may see very clearly with what freedom Dante has 
treated allegorical interpretations of Holy Writ, so 
universally loved in hts time. He represents the 
woman that sitteth upon the waters bearing herself 
the Seven Heads and the Ten Horns, whereas in the 
Apocalypse these attributes are given to the beast 
upon which she sits. The right administration of 
the Seven Sacraments, and the just observance of 
the Ten Commandments are what secure to the 
Church purity and truth. 

It is somewhat remarkable that in the Commen- 
tary of Benvenuto all reference to the three lines 
that follow is entirely omitted.f 

*BUnc {Ja^^jo) remarks that Fraticelli'a interpretation of 
the Seven Heads a9 meaning; the Seven Hills of Rome, and 
the Ten Horns as meaning the nations conquered by Rome 
(Uic determinate for the indeterminate number) has this nnierit, 
tint it entirely agrees with the explanation of theiie allegorical 
figvm tn the Apocalypi^e itself 

t Mr. H. C. Lea {CkaftUrs /rom the Rfiigious History of Sfain, 
iSgOv P- $1) points out that three passages, of which this 
(UL 106-I17J \s one, were ordered by the SpaniKh Inquisition to 
be expurgated from all copies ofthe Divina Commfifia introduced 
mto Spaniih territorj'. The other passages were /*(/. xi, 8^ 9 ; 
and /'«»■. tx, 156. 137. I have myself recently seen a very 
Wwitifal S4S., in which this part of the Canto is motit carc- 
faUr obliterated 

1^ G2 

too Readings on the Inferno. Canto XilC- 

Fatto v' avele Dio d' oro e d* argento:* 
E che altTO fe da t voi all' idolatre, J: 
Sc non nh' egU ^ unD, e vol n^ orate cento ? 

* FiittQ t'"" nvft£ Dio d' oro c d' argento : Compare Hnsea viij, 3^ 
4 : " Israel hath cast off the thing that is fjoad : the cntmy shall 
pursue him. They have set up kings, but not by me: they 
have made princes^ and I knew it not : of their silver and thetr 
jfold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off." 
And Ephi:s. v. 5 : *' . . . nor covetous man, who h an idolater, 
hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." 
Also Col. til, 5: ". . . and covetouaness, which is idolatry." 

t ckc altro i da vol atf idolatre : Blanc ( I've. Dant.) says that 
attro here must be taken as a substantive, and the wnrds inter- 
preted : "qua! diffetenza ^ tra voi e 1' idolatre? *' Compare 
Pttrg. xxiv, 62 I— 

" Non vede piCi dall' uno all' altro stilo." 
And Par. ii, 145, 146 : — 

" Da cssa vien cid che da luce a luce 

Par rijfferente, nan da dcnao e raro." 
J idoiatrt : Nannucci {Teorka dti Nomi, 2S4-2S8) says that 
idalcitfi here is the masculine plural of the noun idoUttra. 
Blanc (Sag^iot p. i97)obse rves : " IdulatTir^ as Nannucci stoutly 
maintained and distinctly proved, is a plural form, and not 
only is it not made use of here lor the sake of the rhyme [as 
same contendjj, but on the contrary, it was the word in by far 
(he most constant use by the old Italian writers." The i'lna- 
bolaria delta Cru&ca [sA'. Iiiolatra) says that among the older 
Italian writen^ IdoUHra was much used, and its plural was 
both in i and t; as was ako the case with Ensiarca, Fnt/fta^ 
etc, which took both plural forma indiscriminately. 

^egii: The plural for i-j^^iiiu, equivalent to ywr//!. Old writers 
made use of egii for eglino in innumerable instances. Blanc 
(Vac. Danl,) cites six passages besides the present one^ where 
Dante so uses it in the Divtna Commedta ; but he notices that 
many editions in those cases write it eUi. Of these seven 
passages, Ihc Oxford Dante (including the present passage) 
writes four with igli for tgHno. Compare Par, vii, 136 :^— 

" Creata fu la materia ch' cgli hanno." 
And Par. xxiii, 124-126:^ 

" CiasL'un di quei candori in su si stcse 

Con la tiua fiamma, &I che I' alto affetto 
Ch' egli aveano a Maria, mi fu palese." 
And Par. xkki, 16-18 : — 

" Quando scendcan ncl fior, di banco in banco 
Porgevan della pace e dell' ardore* 
Ch' eglt acquistavan vcntilando il Eianco." 

Canto XIX, Headings on the Inferno. 


Ye have made your god of gold and silver ; and 
what difference is there between you and the 
idolaters, save that they worship one, and you a 
hundred of ihem ? 

And now Dante, believing that all the abuses 
existing in the Church arose from its having tem- 
poral possessions, concludes his harangue by apos- 
trophising Constantine as the author of the mischief 
according to his supposition. 

Ahi, Conslantin,* dl quanta mal fu malre,+ 
Non la lua conversion, j ma quella dote 
Che da tc prese ii primo rieco patre I " — 


* CenutantiH : It was generally believed in the Middle Ages 
that Constantinc the Greatt after being healed of his leprosy 
by I'opc S)lvester I, bestowed on hitn as a gift the so-called 
fiurtmony oj St. Piter. Tradition relates that the Empcrofj 
smitten with leprosy in Rome, souf^ht out St. Sylvestci', who 
mm* concealed in the caverns under Mount Soracte ; and after 
receiving Baptij$m at his hands, was miraculously healed of 
!)■» Icp'TOsy, The whole star\' is a Action, It is well known 
ih^l Consiantine was baptised at Constantinople, not at Rome, 
ly a few moments before his death. The so-caiUd patri^ 
' SI. PHer is said to have been the gift of the Countesa 
ift ; whereas the Donation of Constantine was a much 
bigl^rr affair, viz. : the whole of it:)ly, if not the whole tem^ 
Mml dominion of the West. See P^r, xx, 57 ; and Dr. Moore's 
footnote in Stttdus in DattU. ii> p, 15. Ste also St, Thom. 
Aquinas, ^f Regim. Princ, iii, 10 : " qui [ConstantinusJSilvesiro 
in inapeho cc»&il." 

t AM/ rr , . . paire : These forma, derived from the Lalin 
«Ml#r and fairr, were in constant use in the early days of the 
llAlian lani^uagc. Later nn the i wa» softened into d. Main 
uted here in the sense of " origin." 

Iconvtriion : Compare l»/. xxvii, 94*97 : — 
" Ma come Constantin chicse Silvestro 

Dcntro Siratti a guarir dclla Icbbre, 
Cosi mi chicae quc«ti per maestro 
A };uanr dclla sua bupcrba fcbbre." 
Camparc Gower, Cvn/nuo AmnftttSt Prologwa: — 


Readings on i^\c Inferno. Canto XIX. 

Ah Constantine ! of how much ill was mother, 
not thy conversion but that dower which the first 
rich father (Pope Sylvester) accepted from Ihce ! " 

In the time of Dante it was g^enerally believed 
that all the ills of the Church arose from its sup- 
posed donation by Constantine^ and that from that 
moment Avarice, Simony and Sensuality sprang up 
among the chief Pastors of the Church. Dante 
himself refers to the gift in Par. xx. 55-60, though in 
one passage in the De Monarchia, lib, iii, cap. 10, 
It, 39M-f h^ seems to imply doubt and hesitation as 
to the legal validity of the donation, for he says; 
'* Therefore to make a rent in the Empire exceeds 
the lawful power of the Emperor himself. If then 
some digftiities were by Constantine alienated from 
the Empire, as they report," etc On this see Dr. 
Moore, Sfudits in Dante, Vi, pp. 15, 16. 

Bcnvenuto, who of course believed the story, re- 

"The patrimonie and the richesse 
Which to Silvester in pure almesse 
The firstc Constantinus lefte," 
Caiy remarks that this jgift 's very humarously placed by 
Ariosto (Ori. Fur, xxxiv, st. So) in the Moon^ among the things 
lo&t upon the earth : — 

'*Di varj] Jiori ad un gran mantc passa, 
Ch' ebbe ^\k buonn odorc, or putia forte. 
Qucsto era il dono (se pero diT K-ce) 
Che Coslantino al buon Silvestro fcce.'' 
And Milton (ranslaled both this passage and the one in the 
text {Prcsc IVprks, vol. i, p. 1 1, edition 1753): — 

"Ah Constantine I of how much ill was cause 
Not thy conversion, but those rich demains 
Thflt the first wealthy Pope rcceiv'd of ihcel" 

"Then past he to a flowry mounlairt green, 
Which once smelt sweet, now. slinks as odiously ; 
This was that gift (if you the truth will have) 
That Conetftntine to good Sylvcstro gave." 

Canto XIX, Readings im the Injcmo. 


marks that U seems to him very far from the truth 
what some have tiied to prove, namely, that the 
donation of Constaniine resulted in a general aban- 
donment of the laws of God, for the Prelates did not 
become depraved immediately after the donation, 
but on the contrary were men of the greatest piety 
and learning, such as were Pope Greg:or3r', Jerome, 
Augu&tine, Ambrose and many others ; but he thinks 
that after several centuries the Prelates had acquired 
such a superabundance of wealth that they began to 
deviate from the law, as we see happens with all 
powers, both temporal and spiritual, which so often 
have a good beginning, and then lapse ; this hap- 
pened to the Romans themselves, and therefore of 
right to the Prelates of the Roman Church. Ben- 
vcnuto thinks Constantine was the remote, but not 
the immediate, cause of the depravation of the 
Prelates, The documentary^' evidence of the pre- 
tended gift is to be found in the Pseudo-Isidonan 

Dante's reproofs appear to have stung the shade 
of Nicholas nearly to madness. He does not utter a 
syllable, but the violent contortions of his limbs 
testify to the mental anguish Dante's words have 
occasioned. Virgil looks on apparently with much 
satisfaction, and the Canto is now brought to a 
conclusion by his carrying back Dante in his arms 
up the cliff and along the bridleway, until they 
reach the centre of the next bridge which overhangs 
the Bolgia of the Diviners, 

E mcnire io gll cantava cotal note, 
O irm cotci'en^a che il mordr^ac. 

I 104 Readings on the Inferno. Canto XIX. 1 

^^ Forte spingava* con ambi> Ic piotc. 120 1 

^^k Id credo ben chc al mio Duci piacesset 1 

^^^^^^^L Con sX contcnta labbia i scmpre aUese 

^^^^^^^ Lo suon delk parole vere e&presse. 

^^^^F Per6 con anibo ]e braccia mi prese, 

^^^^P £ poi chc tutto au mi s' ebbe al petto^ 125 

^^^^B Rimontb per la via onde disceae ; 

^^^^B N£ si stanch d' avermi a %k di^tretto, 

^^^^^ SI mi pDrt6 | snpra 11 colmo dell' arco, 

^^^^K Ctie d&\ quarto ai quit^lo ar^inc ^ tragetto. 

^^^^K Quivi sodvemente impose tl carco, 130 

^^^^V Soa%'e per lo sco'glio sconcio ed erto, 

^^^^V Che sarebbe alle capre duro varco : 

^^^^P Indi un altro vallon % mi fu scoperto. 

*spiitgsva: ^e springare in Donkin's EtyttfotogUat Diction- 
ary : '* Springare, II. Danle Inf. xix, lao (al. spiu^are) to sprawl^ 
0. Fr. tspringuevy dance with leaps, Pic. to dance for joy ; from 
O.H.G. sprinf[an, EnR. spring. O. Fr. isf>ringaU = (1) a dance, 
(2) a machint for throwing missiles, a springaUif It. springatda, 
a battering-ram, Sp. espingarday a small cannon. 

t iahhia : Compare Inf. vii^ 7 : — 
K ^^Poi si rivoisc a qudl' enfiata labbia," etc. 
^1 And Inf. xxv, 21 : — 

H "Infin dove camincia nostra labbia" [the human 
^M form J, 
H And Piirg. xxiii, 46-48 : — 
^H "Que^ta favilla tutta mi raccese 
^L Mia conoscetifa alia cambiata labbia [alter/d fta- 

^B E ravvi?;ai la faccia di Forese," 

^H See also Pelrarch, Triott/o d' Amore, iv, ad fintm :— 

^M " In cosi tenebroi^a e stretta gabbia 

^H Rinchiusi fummo ; ove Ic pennc usalc 

^H Mutai per tempo e la mia prima labbia/' 

^H 1 5^ mi porto : Si is for sin, and sin for sinchli. 

^M § vaUoft ; The full force of the literal meaning of valiont must 
^M not be neglected here. I'alU is a valley ; valUtta^ a listle 
^H valley ; valiouc ts a large, spacious^ extensive valley, and is the ^h 
^H AUginentative of valU, Let it be remembered that there H no ^^H 
^M s*rt ttf analogy between the French valion^ a small valley, and ^^1 
^M the Italian vttUottij a large valley. 1 

Canto XiX, Readings cm the Inferno. 



And while I wassin{?ingsuch notes to him, whether 
it was frenzy or conscience that bit htm to the 
quick, he began kicking violently with both his 
feet. I do believe that it pleased my Leader, with 
so satisfied a mien did he keep on listening to the 
sound of the words of truth uttered. Thereupon 
he caiig^ht me in both his arms* and when he had 
got me quite upon his breast, he remounted over 
the siime path by which he had descended : nor 
did he weary of holding me clasped to him, until 
he had borne me up to the summit of the arch, 
which is the passage from the fourth to the fifth 
rampart. Here he gently set down his burden, 
gently by reason of the rugged and precipitous 
cliff, which would have been a ditilicult passage for 
agents. From there (namely, the bridge) another 
great valley was discovered to me. 

Professor Luigi Rocca,* in an admirable lecture 
on the Tapac}' and the Church in the Middle Ages, 
observes that in Dante's indignation two sentiments 
were combined, the religious and the political, He 
found in the Temporal Sovereignty of the Popes of 
htft time the primary cause of the ills being suffered 
by the Church and by true religion ; and he also 
loond there the principal obstacle to the effectual 
consummation of his political ideal^ namely, the 
univerKal monarchy under the joint rule of the 
Pope and the Emperor The whole world marshalled 

•In // Papato t ta China ncl Sft:t>h Xltl^ in Con/erfnxf 
DmmUuiu, Vol. ii. pp. [2,^>i27. Milano, Ulrico Hoepli, 1901. 

Il«saf». Hoifpli hAvc published numerous splendid works 
coMWCtcd with Dante in recent years, among them being a 
■MwptMPM quarto La Divina Commcdia di Dante Aligkieri illu- 
atrmts mei iit^ki 1 n<lU f>(rs.onc a euro di Corrado Ricci, am jo 
timiifu t 400 zincotipif. Milano. 1H98, in which there are iUuS' 
trstions ni the baptismal fonts of Pisa, Pi^toju, Caici, Parma 
uk) one m the Mu«cum »l Milan, showtng the holes in which 
the bflfitiMn^ jiricvt? look Ihctr sliind. 


Readings on Ou In/crno. Canto xr 

in peace under the wings of the two great forces, the 
Imperial and the Papal, the one as guide to earthly 
Fhappine&s, and the other as the spiritual guide to 
celestial bliss, this was the splendid Utopia which 
was formerly dreamt of throughout the Middle Ages, 
but in undeterminate outlines, and which found its 
chief interpreter in Dante (see Purg. xvi, 106-129 '• 
and Conviio, iv, 5, 11. 16-32). It was to the failure of 
this ideal that we may trace Dante's outspoken 
wrath. (I give Professor Rocca's own words^ which 
would lose much in a translation); " Di qui i suoi 
giudi^i non benevoli pei papi del medio evo, anzi ta 
sua aperta avversione, troppo manifesla sia nel si- 
lenzio sdejrnoso che egli serba davanti ai piii grandi 
fra essi, sia nella severity colla quale di altri ricerca 
le coipe ed i difetti per chiuderli nelle bolge dell' in- 
ferno per tormentarli nei cerchi del purgatorio, Di 
qui gli acerbi rimproveri contro i papi suoi contem- 
\ poranei, contra Bonifazio VIII in particolare, e le 
frequenti invettive che risuonano fino nel pin alto 
de' cieli per bocca di san Pietro stesso ; fiere in- 
vettive che a tutta prima fanno stridente contrasto 
col sentimento profondamente religioso del poema. 
Ma sono il grido appassionato d' un credente, non 
J V insullo beffardo [railitig] di un nemico ; sono colpi 
diretti a spezzare il diadema temporals onde i papi 
I avevano recinta la tiara, non a scalzare [to undermine] 
! la podesta delle somme chiavi, davanti alia quale il 
poeta china reverente la fronte, come davanti 
Tautorita divina delle sacre scritture " (0^. cit. p. 127]! 


Canto XX. Readings on the Inferno. 




The Nineteenth Canlowas brought to a dose at the 
time when Virgil, having carried Dante on his breast 
up the precipitous side of the Third Bol^ia^ con- 
tinued to bear him along the bridgeway until they 
were in the centre of the bridge that overhangs the 
Fourth Bolgia. He has set him down very gently, 
and the Poets now turn their attention to the won- 
derful spectacle at their feet. 

In this Canto I find myself unable to follow Ben- 
veouto, whose divisions seem much less happy than 
nsaal, as in each change of scene he makes the 
break occur either in the middle of the speech of 
«-'"?r? personage, or during an episode. I have accord- 
adopted the following divisions : — 
in Division I, from ver. i to ven 24, Dante de- 
s generally the penalty of the Diviners. 
Division 11, from ver. 25 to ver. 51, he men- 
lions certain Di\'iners of Ancient History with an 
cvi] reputation for various kinds of divination and 
sorcery- . 

In Diviiion III. fromver.szto ver. 99, while telling 

loS Readings on the Inferno. Canto X^ 

the story of Manto, he describes how she founde^f 
Mantua, the birthplace of Virgil. 

In Division IV^ from ver loo to ver. 130, he names 
other Diviners of ancient and modern times. 


Division I. — Benveniito observes that Dante 
now about to describe in verse a new form of tor- 
ment {ftuova pena)j which has never been seen or 
heard of before, for this penalty of the Diviners is 
entirely of Dante's own invention, and is not to be 
found in the poems either of Virgil or Homer. • 

Di nuova pena mi convicn far versi, 
E dar materia al ventesiino canto 
Delia prima canzon, ch^ 'b 6c* sottimersi. 

Id era gi& disposto lutto e quanto 

A riguartlart ncllo scoperto fondo 
Che si bagnava d' angoscioso pianto; 

'*' Barloli (Storia delta Letteratura ItalianA^ vol. vi, part ii, 
p. 78) says: " \\' e have not much to interest us about the 
'Divintrs in the Fourth Boigia, except perhaps in obsemng 
that Dante put no credence in magic artB." The opinion of 
Bartali alsvays carries great weight, but I cannot agree with 
his observation thai Dante did not believe in magic. I prefer 
to follow the view of ticnvenulo (sec p. 1 11), that Dante's tcan 
(1. 21) were due to the silf-reproach of the Poet at having him- 
self dabbled in the arts of divinations. 

i dispoito tuito f quanta a riguctrdar : Some translate <f(5j^0)f(* 
tta I have done, ''placed." See Gran Disionario a.v. disftiittf, 
i|25 : "^ Essirt litn iii^Pvttv per Trovar&i in luogo acconcio all' 
nizione relativa." As in Ptirg. xxxiii, 19-21 : — 

*' E Con Iranquillo aspetto ; ' Vien piQ tosto,* 
Mi disse, 'tanto che s' io parlo teco, 
Ad afcoltarmi lu sie ben disposto/" 
This is the interpretation of Fraticclli : ^' Io m' era po&to con 
tutta r attcnzione,'* the latter words explaining tutto r (/udnfu. 
Others, and the>' are many, translate the words "whoHy micni 
to luok d&wn/' I take disposlo to refer to IL i^fl, 139 of the 

ilo XX. I^^adings on the Inferno. 


B vidi gente per lo valJon tondo 

Venirtaccndo e Jagrimandoi ail passo 
Che fan le Ictanlc* in questo mondo- 

Come i] viso mi ficese in tor piu basso, f 
Mirabitmente apparve esser travolto 
Ctascun tra '] mento e '1 principio del ca^so : 

Chfe dalle reni era CornalO il volto,{ 

iut Cinto, where wc arc told thai Virgil did not weary of 
carr)'ing Danic, until he had placed him upon the summit of 
the j»rch of the bridge {wpra il cointo ddC arcv), from whence 
\imJi) another spacious valley was disclosed to him (scopcriu), 
vhtch latter word tallies witK the scop^rio fondo of I. 5 in this 

* Utanu : The Gran Dhhnariit (a, v. litan'm, i 6) says : *' Per 
Ic pcrsAfic che cantano Ic litanie in processione." Benvenuto 
reads kttttu, and remarks : "rA^ fanno U U-Utne in questo momlo^ 
•4c«l illi qui vadunt in processione." The Vocahoturto tUUa 
Cruita, after quoting the present passage, add?i : " and becaiiiie 
iSc^« p**yer» and supplications [ihc primary meaning of 
itumu\ are recited in numerous processions, the word came 
to Hgnify *le peraonc chc le recitano ' and is here used to 
compare the slow and mournful step of the Diviners with that 
•f tKoac who walked in reliKJous processions." The Gran Diuo- 
mtrw aayx that Litania and Lftaniti arc the niodem forms of 
the word- I^iiana and t'Ctttna are obsokte except sometimes 
■I poetry- I may remark that in some few Churches in Lon- 
4cm» which while observing a High Ritual, adhere a& closely 
M pAi4iblc to the Early Anglican or Sarum use, rejcciing any 
;'.:!'r!y Roman interpolations, it la the custom to recite the 
l.i'.j..''i) walking in veiy slow procession round and round the 
Church- 1 may specially mention St. Mary the Virgin. Prim- 
roBC HilK of which the Rev. Percy Dearmer is the Vicar. The 
of the Litany so recited is exlrcmely solemn, 

• it viw mi icfst in U*r piu hasso : When Dante first reached 

bridge, the unhappy band seem to have been some distance 

»a iKat his eye only rested on them in the mas.s; but as 

Ivaoced, and came under the bridge, hi:^ eye naturally 

down lower and lower^ until at last he was able to 

I ihc grotesque though hcartre.^ding details of their 

5 tanmU il voUo : Spenser (FaerU Quune, Book i^ Canto viii. 
It. yv V) rfcKribcs Ignaro as similarly distorted : — 

Headings on the Infirno. Canto xi- 

Ed mdietro venir gli convenia, 
Perchfi jl veder dinanzi era lor tolto. X5 

Forse per forza gik dt parlasia* 

Sl travolse cos) alcun del tutto i 
Ma io no] vidi, nfe credo che aia. 

Of a new punishment it becomes my duty to make 
verses, and furnish matter for the twentieth Canto 
of the first Lay {i.e, Cantka)^ which is about those 
plunged down (in Hell). I was already placed so 
that 1 could with my whole attention look down 
into the Abyss opened out below, which was being 
bedewed by tears of anguish : and I saw people 
coming along the vast circular valley silent and 
weeping, at the pace which in this world religious 
processions maintain. As my sight descended 
lower down upon them, each one seemed to be 

*^ At last, with creeping crooked pace forth came 
An old old nian, with beard as white a% snow; 
That on a Htaflfe his feeble steps did frame, 
And gwyde hia wearie gate both to and fro ; 
For his eye sight him fayled long ygo; 
And on his arme a bounch of keyes he bore, 
Tht-' which unu?icd rust did overgrow: 
Thase were the Steyes of every inner dore ; 
But he cDuld not them use, but kept them still in vtorc 

But very uncouth sight was to behold. 
How he did fashion his untoward pace ; 
For as he forward moov'd hia footmg old, 
So backward still was turned his wrincted face : 
Unlike to men* who ever, as they trace, 
Both feet and face one way are wont to lead. 
This was the auncient keeper of that place, 
And foster father of the gyaunt dead ; 
Hls name Ignaro did his nature right aread/* 
* parlasia : Benvenuto says that paralysis will sometimes so 
distort, dislocate, and disarrange a man's ncck^ that he will 
look at himself transversely, as it were sideways, over his 
shoulder, and that he, Benvenuto^ had once seen a little old 
woman thus deformed: hut never had it been so acute that it 
could make a man's face look right down his back behind him, 
$.?, was the case with these poor wretches^ 

!anto XX. Readings on th^ Inferno. 


marvellously distorted between the chin and the 
commencement of the chest : for the face was 
turned towards the loins, and they (these people} 
were forced to walk backwards, because to look 
forwards was taken from them. Perchance ere 
now by violence of palsy some may have become 
thus completely deformed ; but 1 never saw it, nor 
believe it can be. 

Dante meatis that he would like to cite some 
peculiarly distressing case of distortion of the human 
body to which he could compare the terrible condi- 
tion of these Divjnerst but none thai he has ever 
seen or heard of could give an idea of it, Benvenuto 
beg» his readers, however, to examine closely how 
just and suitable is the punishment assigned to the 
Diviners- They are represented walking slowly 
itoan the valley, with their faces twisted round so 
u lo look down their backs, and all of them weeping. 
ow here they are seen with their faces turned the 
Dng way, for as they had svished to see, far away 
[ihc distant future, events which must be uncertain 
nan. so by the just judgment of God, Who alone 
eth the future, they can now only see what is 
taind them. 

Dante is unable to restrain his tears, and Ben- 
venuto remarks that the passage which now follows 
htt beeo often n;iisunderstood, for it is a very subtle 
piece of imagery, and the real meaning of it is the 
Mmaation by Dante that many excellent men have 
yielded to the folly of Divination; and that this 
nutter came home to Dante himself, who had at 
lime» dabbled in astrolog>', and had wished to fore- 
lliiutafc events^ as may be seen in this Poem. 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xx. 

Sc Dio ti lasci, Letter, prender frutto * 

Di tua lezione, or penaa per te stesso, 20 

Com' io potea tencr lo viao aaeiutto.t 

Quando la nostra imagine da presso 

Vtdi SI toiia, chc t] pianto dcgli occhi 
Le natiche bagnava per lo fcssc*. 

Reader, so may God grant thee to gather fniil 
(i.e. profit) from thy reading, now think for thyself 
how could I keep my face unwetted, when I beheld 
close to me our (human) image so distorted, that 
the weeping of the eyes was bathing the hinder 
parts along their fissure. 

GelHJ is struck with the fact that Dante could 

*fruiiii: "Fructus hujus kctionis est, quod lector discat 
expensis istorum, non inquirere vane futura, et dic<re muUa 
mendacia cum perditione animae et irrisiont: sui.^ (Ben- 

iasciutti}: Compare Pitr^. xxx, 52-54:^ 

" Nh quantuTiquc perdd I' autica matre 

Valse alLe guance nctte di ru^^iada, 
Che lagfimando non toroassero atre." 
And Petrarch, Part 1, Sonnd (xii : — 

" Fnrse non avrai sempre 11 viso asciutto ; 

Ch* i' mi pasco di lagrime ; e tu'l sai." 
And Milton, Par. Lvit, x\, 494-498 : — 

**■ Sight so deform what heart of rock could long 
Dry eyed behold ? Adam could not, but wept. 
Though not of woman born; compassion quell'd 
His bc!it of msn, and gave him up to tears 
A space." 
t Gelli describes six different kinds of Diviners : — 
{a) Superstixiosi^ who try to learn from God that which it is 

not lawful for them to know, 
(A) Incantatori, who seek to learn the future, either fri>m 
Angels by means of that art which was called f Arte 
Angelica, or by that other kfvown, a^AlmaJec, by which 
they pretend lo be able to summon up a body to come 
to some given place to converse with tbem. 
(c) Aitrologi giudiciarii arc those who assume (o know, bv 
the aspect and position of the heavenly bodies, the 
free actions of Man^ besides many other things which 
are not really in the ka!>t subject to celestial inHucnces. 

,anto XX. Readings on the Inferno, 


look on without a tear at the suffering undergone by 
Cavalcante de" Cavalcanti in a tomb heated to a 
white heat, and could see his beloved teacher Bru- 
neito Ivatini ceaselessly running upon burning sand 
under a rain of fire, although these were persons for 
whom in their life-time Dante had felt great affec- 
tion ; whereas now, on witnessing the grief of these 
Diviners, he cannot restrain his tears. 
Benvenuio relates an anecdote about Pietro di 
o, a native of Padua, and a man of great good- 
ness, who on his deathbed, addressing his friends, 
mAsters, scholars and doctors, who were gathered 
round him, told them that he had given up the best 
part of his life to three noble sciences ; of which one 
had made him intelligent, and that was philosophy; 
the second had made him rich* and that was medi- 
cine ; but the third had made him a liar, and that 
,s astrology. "And I," adds Benvenuto, "will 
y with Averroes: 'The astrolog-y of our day is 
naught ! ' But the astrologer will at once retort : 
'Averroes was ignorant of astrology, for the stars 
cannot lie/ To which I should answer: ' Show me 
the man who did know astrology- well, and let us see 

■frfy Ckir^m^nti are they who profess to read the future of a 
man m the linejimentB of his hand, or oiher parts of 
bis body, 

[r) Amgitn td Artu^ki. who pretend 10 teach men how to 
rcKulalc their acliona from their own observations of 
the Atght and movements of birds. 
(/) Gtomdmti t [drom.ittti assume to be able to td) the future, 
cither by making certain marks upon the earth and 
then reducing them to figures, or by agitating water 
at fixed times and seasons and noting the ripplea or 
circles that it mikes. 
II. H 

tl4 Readings dH the Infemd. Canto X?I. 

what truths he ever uttered, for never through all 
the days of my life did I set eyes upon one, although 
I have had knowledge of and acquaintance with 
many/ Truly I admit that the stars do not lie^ but 
the aatrologera lie handsomely about the star*/' 

Division II. — ^Dante is not long allowed to shed 
tears of compassion for the Diviners. Virgil rebukes 
him for feeling pity for those who are thus condemned, 
as though God had punished them unjustly,* 

Certo i' pimgfa, poggiato nd un de' rticchi 25 

Del daro scoglio^ si t che la mta sgorta 
Mi dissci — "Ancor sei tu degli aftri sciocchi ? 

Qui vive la pieti( quanda ^ ben morta. 

♦Compare Lev. x, 6, where when Nadab and Abihu had been 
destroyed by fife from God for their presumption in venturing 
to offer unconsecrated incense in the Tabernacle, Moses for- 
bade their own family to mourn for them: "And Moses sjiid unio 
Aa.ran, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons. Uncover 
not your he^ds, neither rend your clothes, lesl ye die, and lest 
wr,Uh come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the 
whale house of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord hath 

f i' piangia . . . si: Compare Inf. v, 139-141 : — 
" Mentre che I' uno spirto questo disse, 
L' altro piangcva s}, che di pictade 
Id venni meno st com' io moriasc.'' 

And Christian Ytar^ Eleventh Sunday after Trjni(y, at. s :— 
"The firt- of God is seen to fall 
(Thou know'st it) on this earthly ball ; 
Full many a aoul, the price of blood, 
Mark'd by th' Almighty's hand for good, 
To utter death that hour shall sweep — 
And will the Saints in Heaven dare weep ? " 

J/>(Vfd,' HIanc (Saggio, p. igg) has an admirable article* upon 
this passage. He interprets it: "Qui vive In pietA (fUtoi, 



sSnio XX, Readings on the Inferno, 115 

Chi e piu sccllcrato ch^ £olui 

Che al giudizto divin passion porta ? "^ ^o 

Certainly I was weeping, leaning; against one of 
the projecting cra^s of the hard rock-bridge, so 
that my Escort said to me; '* Art thou even now 
atnong'the other fools? Here pity is alive when 
it is wholly dead. Who is more wicked than he 
who has compassion (antagonistic) to the Judg- 
ment of God ? 

Vii^l had not reproved Dante for showing com- 
passion for those punished for sins of Incontinence 
iind Violence, such as Francesca, Ciacco, and Pier 
dcUe Vigne ; and even to the degraded beings men- 
tioned in Canto xvi, he invites Dante to be courteous. 
But no sooner are they down in the valleys of Male- 
itolj^c, than all this is changed, and Virgil seldom or 
never speaks of the tormented but in terms of con- 
tempt or reproof. He listens with complacency to 

4% qoando la pietft {comfmssiont) t ben morta.'^ Com- 
xxxiii, »5o;— 

' E cortcftia fu in lui esBcr villano." 
And Par. i\\ 105 :— 

'* Per non ptrdcr pieti si fe* spictato," 
*/AtSMM portu : There are three variants here, namely- 
famam pvrla, fntsiiim iamf>orta, and comf>assiou porta, all of 
*hkb ut. Mnort- {Textual Crituism, p. 326) says have much 
•M»offt from the >1SS. He rather prefers pasiion porta, as 
ivowbty in the arl^inal text, since it i^ rather an unfamiliar 
ykrvBc, and leaves the rhythm somewhat rui^K«**i and therefore 
^aiaiUy compaiswn ptirttt was intended to remedy these defects. 
• . . The KCHBc may perhaps be the same, whether on: reads 
/tfniffff or (vmpaiiiv**. The Vocaboiario dcila Crusca^ s.v. pas' 
otm. Ji 23, »ay»: " Fortar paasionc ad «nf>, vale, Aver com- 
••••lonc di lui." Compare Boccaccio, Decam, Giorn. viti, 
Xor. 7: " Ma ta sua fante, la qu.'kle gr^in paa^ion le portava, 
MS irovandn modo di Icvar la ^%xa dunna del dolor prcso per 
li pcnSulo amante, vedendo to scolare a) tnodo usato per la 
imda i&ossare. rntro in uno sciocco pcnMcro/' etc. 



II 2 


Readings on the Infetn^, Canto xx» 

Dante's outburst of indignation agains^t the Simon- 
iacal Popes, and now rebukes him for pitying the 
Diviners, to do which, is like passing censure upon 
the Justice of God. 

Virgil now commences a long discourse by direct- 
ing Dante's attention to Amphiaraus. 

Driz^a 1a testa, drizcEi, e vedi a cui 

S' apersc agl( occhi de' Teban la terra. 
Per ch' ei gridavan tuUi : ' Dove rui, 

Anfiarao ? * perch£ lasci la guerra ? ' 

E nan reato di ruinare a vaLle jjl 

Fino a Minbs, che ciascheduno afferra. 

Mira che ha fatto petto dcllc spallc: 
Pcrchfi voile veder troppo davanle, 
Diretro guarda, e fa retroao c&lle. 

Lift up thy head, lift (it) up, and behold him to 
whom the earth opened itaelf before the evea of 
the Thebans, whereat they all began to cry out : 
' Whither art thou faJling, Amphiaraua ? Where- 
fore quittefit thou the warfare ? ' And he cea$ed 

* Anfiarao: Amphiaraus was one of the seven king;s who] 
besieged Thebes. When war was declared, having knowledge 
of futurity, and forcsecinK his own death* he concealed himself; 
but his wife Eriphyle, bribed by Polynices with the present of 
«. necklace .ind a robe, revealed his hiding-place. Kc was 
swallowed up by the opening qf the eaith> See Statius, Tkeb. 
vii, 7tlg-Hi3; and ihid, vjti, i, et ^cq, Dante borrowed ihe inci- 
dent front StatiuH, and the word& Doiv i^\*ij et seq,, in the prc- 
B.ent passage are evidently imitated troni Pluto's words to 
Amphiaraus, in Theh, viii, S4, S5 : — 

*^At tibi quoa, inquit, Manes^ qui limite praeccps 
Non licito per inane ruis?" 
Dr. Moore {Studies in Dante, i, p. 247;! remarks that it iscuriousJ 
to note ihe introduction oJ MinoB into both these passages [roml 
Dante and Statjus, thouRh with different associations ; in /■/-I 
xjc, 36 as the minister of condemnation; and in Thtb. viii, 17,! 
tt ieq., as the minister of mcrcv- Comparer also PLnd«r, Nm^|] 
a/rs. Ode IX. ■ 



Canto XX. Readings on ih Inferno, iiy 

not to fall down headlon^r as far as Minosi, who 
lays hold on everyone. Behold how he has made 
a breast of his shoulders: because he sought to 
see too far forward (now) he looks behind, and 
treada a backward path. 

The next Diviner to be noticed is Tiresias, 

Vedi Tircsia,'*' che Tnuto sembjantE, 40 

Quando di ma^chio femmjna divenne, 
Cangiandosi k membre tutte quantc; 

E prima poi ribattergli convenne 

Li due Bcrpenti avvoUi con la verga, 

Che riavcsBc le maschid p^nnCr 45 

Behold Tiresias, who changed his semblance, 
when from male he became female, transforming 
ever}' one of his members ; and afterwards he was 
obliged once more to smite the two intertwined 
Bcrpents with his wand, before he could regain his 
masculine plumage {i,£. sex). 

^t Tiresias had a daughter named Manto, of whom 

^korc anon. 

^r Dante now introduces Aruns, who according to 
Locftti was a renowned Etruscan augur. Aruns 
lived up in the mountains of Carrara, then^ as now, 

* Ti'rMid ; Tireiias was a celebrattrd prophet nf Thebcii in 
Greece- [t is sard that in his youth he found Iwq serpents 
twined together on Mount Cyllene, and having struck them, 
■riih His itaff, to separate them, he found himself changed into 
Seven years after this he chanced to And these serpents 
._ n arul having once more struck them^ he recovered hla 
onpnal manhood. Compare Ovid, Mttam. ili. 324'33i : — 
**Coq}ora serpent um bacuti violavernt ictu ; 
[>e<)ue vjro faclus (mirabije) femina, scplcTn 
Excrat autumnos^. Octavo rursus cDsdem 
Vidit: et^ Est ve«trac si tania potentia pEagae, 
Dixit, ct auctoris aortem in conJraria mutet ; 
Nunc quoque vos feriam. Percusaua anguibos isdem 
Forma prior rcdiit, ^rnidvaque rursus imago," 


Readings on the Infcmo. Canto xx. 

famous for their beautiful white marble ; he princip- 
ally exercised his art in the City of Luna, situated in 
the plain below. He was summoned to Rome to 
predict the issue of the war between Cjesar and 
Pompey, whereupon, though somewhat ambiguously, 
he foretold the ultimate success of the former. 

Aronta* h quel che al ventre gli s' atterga, 
Che n'ci monti di Luni^t dove ronca X 

*Aronia: Compare Lucan, Fhars. \, 5S4-5&S: — 
'•'■ . , . placuit Tuscos dc more vetusto 
Acciri vatcs : quorum qui maximus aevo 
Ariins incoliijt descrtae inDenia Lu»ae, 
Fulminis cdoctus motua, venasque calentes 
Fibrarum, ct monitus vDlitantls in acre pennac** 
On moitiiii Lunac see Moore^ Studies in DaifUy i, p. 243: "The 
reading in tiearly all MSS. is said to he LtKiK (Lucca) here, 
and this is row found in most recent cditinns, but Dante's MS. 
evidently had Liifrcje, since in the next lines he emphasises the 
reference to the locality of Carr.ira and the Luni>:;iana, in which 
he had a special interest, having certainly spent a portion of hrs 
time in exile there, under the protection of Ihe Malaspina. 
(Sec Purg. vlii, 115-139).'* 

i Lufsi : The ancient Luna^ a city of Etruria, situated on the 
left bank of the Matra, not far from its mouth, and therefore 
on Ihe conftncB of Lisuria, Pliny calls it the chief city of 
Etruria; Ptolemy mentions it first among iht Etrurian cities; 
it seems to have belonged to the Etruscans during the height 
of their prosperity, but at Ihe time when it fell into the power 
of Rome, it had already passed into the hands of the Ligurians. 
The period of its final decay is uncertain. It was sacked by 
the Lombards in 630, and by the Suriicens in 849 and again in 
iai6. and, writing after 1300, makes Caccia^uida speak 
of it as one of the four great cities that had sunk into complete 
decay, and therefore the decline of illustrious families need 
not excite his wonder. See Par. xvi, 73-78: — 
" Se tu riguardi Luni ed UrbisagUa 

Come son ite, e come se ne vanno 
Dirctro ad esse Chiusi e Sintgaglia, 
Udir come le schiatte si disfanno, 
Non tj parrii nuova cosa ni forte, 
Foscia che le cittadi tcrmine hanno," 

ito XX. Readings on the In/ertw, 


Lo Carrarese che di sotio albcrgs, 
Ebbe tra bianchi marmi Ja spclonca 

Per sua dimora ; onde a guardar le stelle 
E il mar non gU era la veduta tronca, 

Aruns is that one who has his back near his 
(Tiresias'a) belly, he who, in the mountains of 
Luni, where the Carrarese that dwells at their foot 
tills the soil, had for his dwelling a cave among 
the white marbles ; whence, for gazing at the 
stars and the sea his view was not obstructed. 



Tlie name of Luni is still preserved in that of the dislnct, 
which i* called Jhc Lunigiana. Gclli refers to Ihc famous but 
loogHiliscreditcd Comnuntaria of Annius Viierbicnsi^ [i.t. Gio- 
vrnimi Sanni], Romac, 14138, 3 vnls. fol-, who maintains that 
after the Dclugr, Soahj having sent forth his sons to inhabit 
ihe rcM of the earth, came him&elf to dwell in Etruria, and 
(hmt Luna was one of the twelve cities which he built. A» he 
introduced vmc-i^rowing and wine into the distri^t^ he acquired 
fhc nitme of tano derived from la, a brin^cr, and In, wine, 
words in the Armenian tongue which Noah is supposed to havi 
brvmgkS with him into the country! And from this, the town, 
■ad Mibsequently the surrounding territory, came to be called 
II fditi, whence Lunigiana. Gclli would seem to be a be* 
cr in this absurd fable, 

for arruncit. Tht V'trcabohHo ddla Cruita says (his is 
SK the Greek j^urai-rfd}, (o loot up weeds, and a pass- 
qtsated iri which it is recrimmcnded that a held of buck- 
f($Mfxina] be cleared of weeds [arrimiatd\ at the end of 
•fld be well hoed [^archiata^ in the month of June. I 
■cwKion this, because ?omc tran^ilate ronca in this passage 
"hoea." It is, however, according to Blanc [Voc. Dant.)> and 
the Vtx. dtUa Cruua^ to be taken in its wider sense of "to tillt 
\r> ruhivjite the «(iil." The foMowfini; is interesting: **^ Rotican, 
r 11 4 Irt itcsso che arrvncaref^ nettare i boschi pef poi 

d' »*fide la frase, Fart un rvtcoy viva nel Ca&cntino. 
Ma ior>^ arrtmcan ha qui il si^nilicato di arrotiiarit voce viva 
in moltc parti del nnstro pae&e, e fra quesle nclla Luni^anu^ a 
•icniftcare * ExHre uno affaticato o intenln e assiduo al 
laroro.* Quests voce, oltre ad essere propria del luogn di 
cot Dante paria, ben n' addice al lavorio a^siduo dell' npcra 
fc* tnarmi, che allora piii che mai fcrvcva in Carrara," (Ca- 
vemi, Vo(i t modi ileilit DU'itta Cummcditi dcW uw puptiiurt 
tmfmm: Dixionarctto, Fircn^e, 1S77.) 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xx. 

Among ordinary persons, when one walks behind 
the other, it is the hindermost whose belly is near 
the back of the foremost ; but in this Circle it is just 
the contrary ; as they keep stepping backwards, the 
belly of Tiresiasp who is in advance of Aruns, is 
nearly in contact with the back of Anins, who 
follows after the back of the head and the front of 
the body of Tiresias. 

Division III. — Virgil now relates at f^reat lengt 
how the City of Mantua, his own birthplace, was 
founded by Manto, the daughter of Tiresias, and he 
hints that the topic is one which he takes pleasure 
in discussing. He first points out the approaching 
form of Manto, whose face is turned towards the 
Poets^ as with her body she is stepping backwards. 
Her hair, therefore, falls down over her bosom, 
which, as well as the front part of her body, is not 
seen by the Poets. 

E quella che rlcopre le mammellc, 

Che tu non vedi, con le Ireccic i^clolte, 
E ha di \k ftgni pilosa pcUc, 

Manto* fu, che cerco per lerre molte t 55 


s not 


* Manto i BianQ (Saggio) points out that Dante in this pas- 
sage had represented Manto in Hell, but in Pjir^. xxii, 100-114, 
he describes how Virgil recounted to him the naimes of iomc 
of the shades in Limbo {wl prime cingkio titl C4trc4rgcie£v) tmd 
he Bays (I. 113); — 

" Ewl la fifilia di Tiresia c Telr," 
which IS usually supposed to refer to Manto. Somc^ however, 
{(./(, Dittdorus Siculus and PausaniHsj say thai I'iresia^s had two 
daughters, and that the one in Limbo is Daphne. Blanc (VtK. 
Dant.) approves of this view. Dr. Moore (Stmfifs r'u DanU, i, pp. 
^7i'i7S) remarks that Dante's treatment of the fable of Manto 
ia very curious. Apart from the unique instance oi inaccuracy 
Into which Dante has fallen by placing her in the Eighth 

Canto XX. Readings on the Inferno. 


Poscia si pose \k dove nacqu' io ; 
Onde un pacn mi place che m' aecolte. 

Poscia che il padre suo di vita uscio, 
E venne serva la citti di Baco, 
QuesU gran tempo per Io mondo ^o, 

Suso in Italia bella giace un Isco 

Appi?- dell' alpt, che serra Lamagna 
Sopra Tiralli, ch' ha nome Bcnaco.* 


tand I 


Circle of the Inferno, and also in Limbo {Pur^, xxii, 113X he 
put* a curious Morj- into the mouth of VirKil inconsistent with 
that poet's own account of the matter in the .^neiti. And this 
is introduced in Language which makes it look Like a rctracta- 
kioa on the part of Virgil; in other words, Dante here ititen- 
lionally corrects the Virgilian legend. . . . The Vir^iUan 
account (^-En, x. 198-21101 is that OcnuB, son of the river Tiber 
and the prophetess Manto founded Mantua: — 

" [Oenus] Fulidicae Manius et Tu&ci hlius amnis, 
Qui muros mairisque dedit tibi, Maniua, nomen." 
pare, too, laiiore, Ori^mei, xv, 1. 5g : "Manto Tircsiae tilia 
inter turn Thebanorum dicitur delata In Uatiam Maittuam 

fc*rcZ> per i*rr£ mciUe : See Cra» DisioHario^ s.v. c^rcare, ^il t 
** Andare attorno ve^gendo." The present passage is quoted. 
Also Ariosto^ Orl. l''ur. Canto xxix, st. 57 :— 

** Dopo moltn ccrcarc. alfin di^cende 
Verso meriggc alia lerra di Spagna." 
Castelvetro thinks that in tliis pa&sage c-£Tcd has not its usual 
■icniBcation as from guueren, or cLse Dante would have said 
thmt Manlo terc^ molic Urre, and not, as in (he text, urci) per 
mctU UtT4t without aayins what it was (hat she sought The 
vord tn this passage must be interpreted : ^* roamed as a vaj^a- 
bood through many countries"; and Castelvetro says that 
DmAlc Has looked back here to the original sense of arcart^ 
which U deri%'cd from circumto or tircuot which means "to go 
reund and round." 

•iw Ucc . - . ch' ha norm Btnaco : Bcnvcnuto, gi^'ing a sort 
of general description of the Lake of Garda, says : "You must 
kaow that at the head of this lake there is an exceedingly fair 
CMtle, which ia called Ripa {Riva), in the diocese of TrentO ; 
wtnlc at the lower end of the lake there is another castle very 
Italrly and strong, which is called Pischeria, in ihe diocese of 
Verona ; and in the lake itself, at a distance from Fischcria of 
perhaps six miles, there i« a small island, which \% called Scr> 


Readinga on the Infcnut. Canto XX. 

Per mille fonti, credo, e piu si bagna, 

Tra Garda* e Val Camonica,t Apennnino^J. 65 
Dell' acqua che ncli dctto Ittgn slagna. 

Loco k nel mtzzo li,^ dove il Trentino 

mione, where I «aw remains of vast and very ancient buildings 
underground: and this island is only inhabited by ftihcrmen. 
nor is Ihere anything grown there except the olive oil in which 
they fry those hsh which are called carpioni^ which Bab pltc 
excellent eatirtf^, and will keep for a long time." 

*Giirdu : A small town situated on the south-eastern shore 
of tht; LakeofGarda. 

t Vat Camortica: One of (he largest valleys in Lombardy, 
which ext&nds for ir^ore than f^fty miles from the chain of 
Tonale and th<; mountains to the South of Bormio, ae far as 
the Lake of Uco. Through this valley the river Oglio flows 
into the Lake of Isea, 

I Aptttnitw : Scartazzlnj does not agree with Blanc (who, 
like many others, reads Pittnlno) that this from the errors of 
copyists has become one of the most difficult passages in the 
Dhnna Commedia. He says the difficulty has simply arisen 
from people not knowing that Aptimino does not mean the 
chain of the Apennines, but a single mountain, Monte Apominp. 
and he explains that the expression tra Gnrda e Val Camonica 
would, besides the lake ilHelfn, include the whole of that chain 
of mountains from whose eastern slopes the lake receives its 
waters. One single mountain in this chain ia the Monte 
Apcnnino here spoken af, and at whose foot flows the river 
Toscolano. Monte Apcnnino is not marked on the maps, but 
it would seem to be situated between Gargnano and Mademo^ 
on the western shore of the Lake of Garda. Gclli takes Monte 
Apcnnino as a matter of course. He says: "And this lake is 
formed by more than a thousand springs^ that have their 
source in Monte Apcnnino between Garda and Val Camonica, 
which valley U in the territory of Brescia." The first four 
editions all read Ap£nisi}w. Witte has a note in which he 
takes the same view as Gclli and ScartajEzini aa to the A^tn- 
Htno in this passage bein^ a single mountain. VellutcUo en- 
larges on the absurdity iif supposing Aptnntno to be the chain 
of the Apennines. He remarks thai they who support that 
view seem to forget that the milk fonti ^ on the eastern ilope of 
the Apennine chain, all flow by Ravenna into the river Poland 
not into the Lago Benaco. 

^Lwo i ncl mfsxo f<if etc.: Of this spoL Vellutello, in the 
edition of Marcolini, Venice, 1544^ saye : "Not far Irom Msl- 

Readings on the Inferno. 

Pastort, e quel di Brescia, c il Veronese 
Segnar potria, ae fesae quel cammino. 

And that woman who with loosened tresses covers 
her breasts which thou seest not, and has on th^t 
side all the skin that bears hair, was Manto, who 
wandered through many lands, and afterwards 
settled there where I was born (f.f. at Mantua), 
about which it pleases me that thou hearken to 
me for a while. After that her father had de- 
parted from lifCf and the City of Bacchus (Thebes) 
had become enslaved, she for a long time roamed 
about the world. Up above in beautiful Italy 
th«re is a lake lying at the fool of that Alpine 
chain which shuts in Germany above the Tyrol, 
and it is called Benacus (i.r. the Lake of Garda). 
Through a thousand springs and more, 1 believe, 
between Garda (the village) and Val Camonica, 
(Mount) Apennino is laved by the water which 
^•cttlcs in the said lake. There in the midst of it 
]■ B spot where (each one of three Bishops), the 
Pastor of Trent, and he of Brescia, and he of 
Verona, might, if he Iravelled that way, make the 
»ign of the Cross [i.e. mi^ht give his Episcopal 
benediction in his own Diocese). 

The three Dioceses, Trent^ Brescia and Verona, 
have ihctr boundaries in an island in the lake. 


!, and opposite to an i&let called San Giorgio, ther^e is a 
place, of which the popular nainc is TtrmtUon^ but that is a 
CMTUption. Il khould properly be called Ttrminviu from ttr- 
mama (Umilt boundary]/ Sc»rta22tni says it is the islet near 
the paint of Mancrba (near the sputh-wcsl corner of (he lake) 
•f which IJishfip Gonzaea records, that there was on the upper 
pVt A small chapel dedicated to St. Margaret 'in einmentwri 
Ptrtt Msdtcuta ifuiieiiam sancttxe Margarcthat dxcuia) ; and which 
«rM oAdrr the jurisdiction of three \>\^hi-tp% {Tridtntitw scilicft, 
Brisinesi, attfuf i'trimmsi). This islet belonged tt> Ihc convent 
flf ihc PranciHLsns, of which Hiahop Gonzaga had previously 
ban tltc Superio^r, and he iticntioncd the chapel as existing in 
hia line 


Readings on the Inferno, Canto 

Virg-jl passes on to describe the fortress of Pc- 
schiera, and Benvenuto says that he does so that he 
may proceed in regular order, and speak of the rivcT 
Mincio, which there flows out of thelake^ and thereby 
bring him to his subject matter, which is Mantua, 

Siede Peschicra,* bcllo e forte arneset 

Da frrtntedjgiar Bresciani e Bergamaschi, 

Ove la riva intorno piu dJscese.J 
Ivi convien che tulto quanto caschi 

CiA che in grembo a Benaco star non puo. 

E fassi fiume giii per verdi paschi. 
T<isto che V acqua a correr mctte co*,^ 

Non piu Henacn, ma Mencio|[si chtama 


* PesckUra ; Benvenuto speaks of the Castle of Peschiera as 
being comparatively moderrt in his time, fortified with many a 
tower and bastion, and which was, as it were, the bulwark of 
the whole country side. 

t hello c forU arncse : Compare Tasso^ Ger, Lth, Canto I, 

*' Perch' egU avca certe novdle mtese, 

Che 8* 4 d* EgiUo il Re gii posto in via 
In verso Gaja, bello c forte arnese- 
Da fronteggiare i Ref^ni di Soria." 
Xdtt£tsf: This is generally understood to stand far eUsuHdc^ 
and all the Commentators and trani^lators treat the word as 
though it were the present tense, but no one has explained 
that such use is tawfuL 

^ nutti CO* : Blanc ( Voc. Dant) says : *' mttUr co' d* un fiume 
che comincia a scorrere fuori d' un lago,** He explains that eo' 
is a contraction of capo, LaX, caputs and signifies *' U Usta, il 
capo, il principio." Compare Inf. xy\, 64 : — 

*^ Poscia passo di 1^ dal co^ del pontc." 
And Purg. iii. 127, 128, where Manfred says: — 
** L* osaa del corpo mio sarieno atscora 

In co' del pontc preaso a Bencvcnto." 
And Par, iii, g^, q6 ; — 

" la tela 
Onde non trasse infino a co' la spola." 
ilAfmciw for ^fin(io: C Loria (L' Itatia mlla Divina Co 
ntikia, Mantua, 186S) remarka ; "The nver Mincio b«gin» 

Canto XX. Readings mt the In/emo. 


Fino a Governo,* dove cade in Po. 

Where the surrounding shore lies lowest, Pe- 
schiera, a fair and powerful fortress, is situated (in 
a positton) to show a (bold) front to them of Brescia 
and Bergamo, There of necessity must all that 
water flow out which ts unable to remain within 
the bosom of Benaco, and it becomes a river {flow- 
ing) down through the green pasture-lands. As 
soon as the water gathers head to flow (as a river), 
it 15 no longer called Benaco, but Mincio, as far 
as Governo, where it falls into the Po, 

VirgiU having described the Lake of Garda and the 
river Mincio. now mentions at what point in the 
course of this river his birthplace Mantua was 

Non molto ha corse, che trova una lama,+ 

under the walls of Penchiera ; flows past Borghctlo, Goito and 
Rit-Aita, at which latter point it forms the so-called Lago 
Superiore of Mantua. The lagoon is artificial, the water of 
the Mincio being dammed up by one dike between the city 
itnd the citadel, and by another between Porta Pradella and 
the outlying fortifications. The water that is discharged by 
the cluices of the Lago Suptriore forms two other artificial 
Ukcs that fturround the city. At Pietole the river resumes iU 
courK as the Lower Mincio, which flows on to 

* Cm trm o , better known aa Governolo, t&a small town about 
cJvc miics from Mantua. It ia on the right bank of the 
Itncio. »nd is situated at the point where that river flows into 
the Po. Atiila is said lo have had an interview here with 
Fopc Leo I, and at his intercession to have promised to depart 
~ Hi of Italy. \n (he Middle Ages it was strongly fortified. 
l-'forn the above description we may see the accuracy of 
inte'a word impaluda in the lines that follow, showing how 
river tprcads out into a wide swamp. 

Gellj rtmnrVs that thin means a spot which lies at a 

f level than the surrounding plain, and he says: "we [in 

kny] arc accuxtomcd so to call certain Aat&» which from 

iVery low, are extremely damp, and on these we usually 

Lrrea. becaute the noil in peculiarly f.ivourable to Iheir 

, and thence we talk *ii una Uutui tl' nih/ri." 

H J 26 Readings an the Inferno. Canto XX. 

^^^^^L Nella qual si distende e la impaluda^ So 
^^^^P E suol di state talora esser grama.* 

^F Not far has it tlowed, when it finds a low-tying^ 
^1 Hat, on which it spreads out and forms thereof 
^B a swampr and in summer is apt at times to be 
^H pestilentlaL 

^1 Bein^ widened out into a shallow 1agoon» it be- 
^m comes stagnant in summer from the evaporation of 
^m its waters, and gives forth malarious exhalations. 
^1 Virgil now continues the story of Manto, showing 
^1 how she selected this spot as remote from the dweU- 
^M ings of men, and suitable for the practice of her 
^B magic arts. She did not found Mantua, but after 
^B she lived and died on its future site^ the city was 
^1 built by surrounding tribes attracted by its impreg- 
H nable position. 
^H Quindi passando la vergine cruda t* 

^1 * grama ; The l-W. delta Crusca (a.v. grttmo^ § 3) interpret* 
^M the word aB "unhejlthy^ pestilential,** and quotes the present 
^H passage. Scarta/^ini, contending that Dante has never used 
^H gramn in that sense before, would rather take it to mean that 
^H the spot was inauspicious ; but both Blanc and Gelli interpret 
^1 it ** unhealthy '^ in this passage. 

^^k f ti^r^iir^ cFuda : Both Benvenuto and Gelli point out that it 
^H is O'niy by poetic license that Manto is here spoken of as a 
^H virgin, for she is said (by Virgil himself) to have been married 
^H to a Tuscan husband, and to have had sons ; of whom one was 
^H named Ocnus and the other Mnpsus. Benvenuto thinks virgo 
^H must have been meant for virago^ which is the same thing as ft 
^H masculine woman, who foltows mai^culine pursuits; in the 
^H same way that Vir^tl speaks oF Pasiphae (GelU thinlcs ironic* 
^H ally) as a virgin, when in fact she wa» the mother of Phaedra, 
^H Ariadne and Androgeus. Compare Virgil, Bucoiica, Eel. vi, 

■ 45-47 :~ 

^H " Et forttjnatam, si nunquam armenta fuissent, 

^H Pasiphaen nivel solatur amore juvenci. 

^1 Ah vir^o infclix ! quae te dementia coepil ? '* 

^H Benvenuto aufiKCst* thai possibly Manto may have been un- 

^H wedded when Jjhe first eetlled in (his place, and may have 

Canto xyC, j^iodifigs on the Itt/^md^ 


Vide terra nel mezzo del pantano, 
Scnza cultura, e d' abitanti nuda. 

Li, per (uggire ogni consorzto umano, 85 

Ri&teEtc CO* sum servi a far sue arti, 
E visse, e vi lascii suo corpo vano.* 

Gli Uomini poi the intorna erano sparti 
S" accoUero a quel loco, ch' era forte 
Per la parttan che avea da tutte parti, 90 

Vtt la chtk sopra quell* ossa morte ; 
E per colei che it loco prima elesse, 
Mantova I' appelUr ^cnz' altra aorte. 

Passing by this spot the sivai^e maiden saw sonie 
ground in the middle of the fen, uncultivated, and 
bafc of inhabitants. There^ to shun all human 
fellowship, she, with her slaves, abode to practise 
her arts, and dwdt, and (at her death) left her 
tcnantkss body. Afterwards the men who were 
scattererd round about gathered together at that 
spot, which was strong by reason of the fen which 
it had on all sides. They bujJt the city above 
those dead bones (of Manco) : and on account of 
her, who had first selected the place, they called 
it Mantua without other au;;ury. 

married and had children aftcfwardn. Df. Moore (Studits in 
O^nU. i, pp. 174, 175) writes: " It is perhaps worth noticing that 
Staiius Theb. t\\ 463) speaks of iMnubn Mnttio, with which we 
compare Dantfi's vergitif cruda^ and the variaus rites in 
'1 Slattus describes her as assisting her father may perhaps 
cd to m illustration of Dante's expression /ar sue artL 
I in Ovid. Sfetum. vi, 157 (a context familiar to Dante, con- 
'teiiunc 'the fttoricH of Arachne and Miobe) Ovid dcBcribcs 
M&nto as dau^l^lcr of Tiresias ; * Nam ^ata Tircsia, venturi 
pTBcvcia UantQ,' etc. Po»»ibly Dante may have wi^h^^d to 
correct Vifuil'* account on the strength of his other authoriiiefl, 
Statwi* Mn4 Ovid.*^ 

*Forpo iwJW .' This means thnt Manto left her body un- 
lenantcd by her soul. The aamc idea is expressed in Pmt^. v, 
loi. 10*, where Buoncontc da Montefcltro, describing his death 
, |h« bfttllc of Campjildino, tsays :— 

Caddi, e rimasc la mia carnc t^ola." 

Readings on tfu Inferno. 

It was U5ual in ancient times to consult omens 
before naming^ a city, as may be read in Li\y as to 
the origin of Rome, or in Varro as to the foundation 
of Athens. Benvenuto says that Valerius Maximus 
in his second book relates that in olden times no 
public or private matters were undertaken until 
auguries had been performed, 

Virgil, having related the origin of Mantua, now 
speaks of the days of its greatest prosperity, lest 
any, seeing the decadence into which it had fallen 
in the time of Dante* might be ignorant of its former 
magnificence. He then charges Dante to recollect 
that his is the true account of the origin of Nfantua, 
and to contradict any other stories that he may hear 
which do not tally with it. 

Gt4 fur le genti sue dentro piu apeBsCp 

Prima {lIic la mattia di Casalodi'*' 95 

Da Pinaniante inganno riceveasct 

Perfi t' aasenno, che se tu mai odi 
Originar mia terra altTlmcntl, 
La verity nulla menrogna frodi,"— 

Formerly its population was more thick within it, 
before that the senseless Casalodi had been de- 

*Ui mattia di Casaiodi ; Understand this (oril matto CaialoJi 
— Abstract for concrete. The Guelph Counts of Casalodi in 
1272 obtained possession of Mantua. Alberto di Ca&alodi 
foolishly allowed himself to be persuaded by Pinamonte de' 
Buonacossi, a noble of Mantua, that he would ingratiate him- 
self with the people, if he banished to their own castles all the 
nobles who were obnoxious to them. This beine done Pina- 
monte himself seized the }<overnment, drove out the Casalodi. 
:md put to a great slaughter ail the nobles remaining in the 
city who were adherents of the deposed family, 

f iaf^anno rictvesie : In the Gran Dizionarw^ s.v. ingann 
ut\dcr ^ ingiutno rtmvr^, we are laid that this is u regula 
idiom, signifying '*to be defrauded of one*s just rights." 

t^S. Readifi^s ori the Inferno. 129 

frauded of his just rights by Pinamonte. There* 
fore i warn thee, if ever thou hearest a different 
origin ascribed to my native city, that no falsehood 
may beguile the truth." 

Gelli thinks that these words seem to show that in 
Dante's time some other account of the foundation of 
Mantua must have been getting credence. 

Diiriuott IV. — The long digression about Mantua 
having been brcufjht to an end, Dante^ returning 
to the main subject of the Canto — first, however, 
acknowled|^ng himself to be fully convinced of the 
accuracy of Virgil's statements — asks his Leader to 
point out any other noteworthy spirits. 

Ed io; — "Maestro, i tuoi ragionamcnti* 
Mi son b1 ccrti. e prcndon &i mia fede, 
Che g|i altrJ mi sarian carboni spenli.t 

Ma dimmi della gente che proccde, 

Sc tu ne vedi alcun degno di nota ; I 


•# tuoi ragiotiamtnii, etc. : Compare Inf. si, 67, 68 : — 
** Ed io : ' Maestro^ assai chiaro proccdc 
La tua ragtonc/*' etc. 
ffmrhont sptttti : Weak Brguments arc here compared to 
citingui^hcd coa]H. In Par. Jtvj, 28-30, the radiance in wJiich 
tV-r ^pini of Cacciaguida, when urged by Dante to recall 
events of his own days, is compared to dyin^ coal 
1 into flame:— 
"Come a' avviva alio spirar dc' venti 

Cftrbone in liamma. cost vidi quella 
Luce ri^plenderc a' mici Wandimenti." 
2 «in» dff^n di nota : Thrnughout the Commedia we notice 
ifiteV contempt ff»r mediocrity Cacciagwida'Tur, xvij, 133- 
) telU IVante that in writing h s booli he ahoyld be sure lo 
- ihjt only the great, the illu'iitrious. and the noblr^ are 
y ol hi* pen, and thai in the three kingdoms of the dead 
has been »hrrwn 

" Pur r jinimc chc hon di fam« note," 
11. ] 


Readings on the Inferno, Canto xx. 

Ch^ solo a cio la mia mcntq rifiede."^* 


And 1: "Master, thy reasonings are to nie so 
convincing, and take such hold on my belief, thai 
the others would be to me as spent coaJs {i.e. with 
out Itg^ht or warmth). But telt me of the people 
that are movin^j past, if thou seeat any one worthy 
of notice ; for only on this is my mind inlenL" 

During the long narration by Virgil, the Poets had 
been walking on, and had passed quite out of sight 
of the group in which was Manto. The forms ihat 
Dante now sees belong to a different section of the 
shades in this Bolgia. 

Virgil, complying with Dante's request, points out 
the other most notable Diviners, the first being 
Eurypylus, the augur who predicted the fortunate 
hour for the departure of the Grecian fleet in the 
expedition against Troy. 

Altor mi disse : — " Quel che dalla gota 

Porge la barba in sulle spallc + brune, 
Fu — quando Grecia fu di maschi ^'ota 

Si che appcna rimaser pc^r Ec cune — 

Augurc,^ c diedc iL punto con Calcanta^ 110 

In Aulide a tagliar la prima fune. 

*h mia mcnti rljiaie : Blanc {Voc Dant) interprets thi»i 
" Mon esprit nc viae, ne s'attache qu'^ c:ela>" " Mdn Geist 
strebt nur darnach." The Vix. delU Crusca says: "aapirarc 
o intendere a checchcssia." Some read rUitdt. 

t Porge la bnrba in snilt st*aiU : The head being twisted cotn- 
pJeteEy round, the beard fell over the shoulders. 

IFu . . . augure : These two words are to be taken together, 
the intermediate words beinR a parenthesis. 

^Cttkunta : On the use of this form instead of the more 
usuii) one Cuicank, set; Nannucci, Trorica dti Nomi, pp. 237, 
3_38. On the episode menliDned here which conne^tti Kurv- 
pylus with Calchas, Dante sccm^i to have confused two distinct 
&nd separate incidents, for m the paasagc in Virgil here referred 

into XX. Rfadings vn the Inferno, 

Euhpiio ebbe nomc, e cost i1 canla 

L' dlta mia Tragedta '**' in alcun loco ; 
Ben Id sai tti, chc la aai tutta quanta. 


Virgil makes no allusion to Eurypylus and Calchas having 
retold the time of the sailing of the Greek fleet from Aulis. 
Sec -r^B. ii, ii4-t24: — 

" Suspcnsi Eurj-pulum scitantem orauula Phoebi 

Mitiimua; isquc- adyti:; haec tristia dtcta reportat : 
*^ Sanguine placastis vcntos, ct vergine caesa, 
Quum primum Itiacas, Danai, venistis ad oras ; 
Sangfuine quaerendi rtrditus, animaque Litandum 
ArKolica/ Vulgi quae vox ut venit ad aurcs, 
Ob&tupuerc animis, gLiidusque per ima cuciirriT 
Ossa tremor; cui fata parent, quern poscat Apollo. 
Hie IlhacuK vatcm magno Calchanta tumuitu 
Proirahit in mcdios ; quae sint ea numina divum 
' U Mtta mia Traf^edia : In his letter dedicating the Paradtsu 
to Can Grande deJU Scala, Dante ^ives the most clear and 
precipe reasons why Virgil s-hould call ihe Mndd a Trngedia^ 
while he himself terms his own vision a.Commtditt. See Epist 
JCjUM Gf^ftdi^ ^ to, )l. 193*217 : ^^ E^t comoedia genus quoddam 
poeticac n^rrationis, ab omnibus aliia diiTerens. Differt ergo 
a trjgoedm in materia per hoc, quod tragocdia in prrncipin est 
admimbilis ct quicta, in fine i^i%'e exitu etit foetida et horribilis ; 
rt dicitur propter hoc a trai^us [rpayfttX quod est kircus, et odn 
\ffi«l\ qua«i cantiti hircittus, id est foetidus ad madum hirci, ut 
Btet per Scntcam in suis Tragediia. Comocdia vero inchoat 
iiatcm altcuius rci^ sed cius materia prosperc tcrminatur, 
pairt per Tcrentium in suis Cnmocdiis, tit hmc con* 
ant dictatorcs quidam in suis salutationibus dicere loco 
'traKicum principium, et comicum finem/ Similiter 
fiBesnnt in modo ioquendi: elate et sublime Iragocdta; co- 
■ncdia vtto renfit^sc et humiliter; sjcut vult Horatius in sua 
^tgUta [Art. Poet, (jj-95]. ubi Jiecnitat aliquando comicos ut 
mtn^cM<i* Inqai. ct sic c ei^nverso : — 

' Intcrdum tamen et vocem comnedia totlit, 
Iratutque Chremes tumido delittgat ore ; 
Et tiagicus plenimque dolct Bcrmone petJestri.'" 
^ t% ootcworthy that iui^t after alluding to the Tru^edia of 
Piri^L Dante speaks of his own Commedia in the opening of 
the neat Canto i/n/. xxi, i, i) :— 

** Co%l di pnntc in pontc^ altro parlando 

Chc la mia commedSa cantar non tura." 
IL I 2 

133 Readings on the In/ertto. Canto XX* 

Then he said to me : " That one whose beard ex- 
tends from his cheek over his swarthy shoulders, 
was an augur — when Greece was so emptied of 
males that scarce any were left (even) in the 
cradles— and at Aulis, he with Catchas, gave the 
instant for cutting the first cable. Eurypylus 
was his name^ and thus {i.e. by that name) my 
lofty tragedy sinj^s of him in a certain passage : 
well doBt thou know itj for thou knowcst the 
whole of it (the .^ncid). 

The next shade pointed out is, that of Michael 
Scot, of whom Benvenuto says that he " was of the 
hlitfid of Scotland," and utiderstood all the falsehoods 
of necromancy ; and in this is to be seen the foolish j 
ignorance of the lower classes, who attribute tofl 
majjic all that they are unable to comprehend. 
Virgil himself (c/ Comparetti, Virgilio nd medio ivo) 
was credited with doin^; tnany things by magic arts, 
which, Benvenuto says, are utterly untrue, as he 
has shown elsewhere. Benvenuto adds that he has 
often heard many things asserted about this ss 

s more 



ficlions than as facts. 

Qucir altro cht- ne^ fianchi h cos! pocot* 
Michvie Scotto t fu, the veramcntc 
Delle magiche frode seppe il gioco. 


*chi nt* fianchi ^ co&i pooi : " Hoc dicJt, v«l quia cirat natU'^ 
ralitcr talis, vel quia propter Bludium crat mirabiliter cJitcnu 
atus." (Renvenuto). 

t Sfithde Scottu : Sir Michael Scot of Balwearic, in Scotland 
flourished during the thirteenth century, and was a man 
much learning, chiefly acquired in forcij;n tnuntries. He wrolc 
a commenlary on Aristotle, printed in Venice in 1496; 
several treatises upon natural philosophvj from which h« 
appears to ha^'e been addicted to the abstruse studies 
judicial astrology^ akhcmy, ph^'^iognomy and cbiromaocyJ 

Readings cm the Inferno, 


That other one who Js so spare about the loins, 
was Michael Scot, who verily knew the trick of 
the impostures of magic. 

Two Diviners are now named, the one an Astrologer 
of the highest order, the other a cobbler. Bartoli 

Hence he passed among his contemporaries as a skilful n^a- 

gKtan. Dempster (Historia Bccksiaslka^ 1627^ book xii, p, 495) 

wy*t th-Ht her rcmcmbtrs to have heard in his youth that the 

njij^ic boaks. of Michael Scot were still in existence, and could 

Dot be opened without danger, on account of the maJignant 

isnAs that were thereby invoked. Landino states (hat by 

niAny he was reputed to be a Spaniard, but that all agret that 

Itc was an excellent aBlrologer and maglctan. And he often 

kihjied guests to a banquet without making any preparation of 

[victaals. and then at the time of semng up he would compet 

^tnts to bring the dishes from various places, and would say 

lltti on« di»h came from the kitchen of the King of France, 

ml another from that of the King of England, and so on. As 

IsthU, Boccaccio (Dfcam. Givrn. viii, Nov. 9) remarks: "See» 

Reader, what an age of blessed iKnoraoce that must have 

Wtsi!" The Anommv Fiortntino relates that once at a ban- 

•Kt« MichMct Scot was asked to give some demnnstr»ition of 

In srt. an<l although it was January, he suddenly madi- appear 

be tables tine- loaded with ^rape^, and having requested 

Bcftt, knife in hand, to lay hold on a bunch, at the instant 

Uichael gave the word "cut,'' both grapes <ind vines 

nUhed. Benvenuto says that although some of his predic- 

> came true, others did not, and notably, that one wherein 

EfcMTtold the death of h.s lord, Frederick II, as to take place 

A Pk>rencc. whereas it happened, not at Fhrtntia in Ti.scany, 

Wl at t-'Urrrntwia in Apulia. But he seem& to have foreseen 

bi& o«n death, und with all his arts to have been unable to 

trout iC He had predicted that he would be killed by a ccr* 

turn fRiaU atone of a certain exact weight falling upon his head. 

To fuard asainit this, he used to ticar an iron lining to his 

hood, but oo entering a church one day on the occasion of the 

tnlival of the Curf^ui Domini, h*- lowered hi^ hood as a sign, 

Ml of real devotion, for he was an ijnbcJie\'cr4 but to impose 

Wfoa the worHhippers. At that instant a small utonr ft^ll upon 

bs bad iinil mlheied ;■ very ^^lighl wound- Hut Michael, after 

csfelollr weighing it, found it wati of the precise weight thai 

W bad lorcfold, and thereupon he tct hia house in order *nd 


Readings on the Inferno, Canto XX. 

thinks it is out of contempt that Danle places 
them in such proximity- He also mentions certain 


Vedi GuidQ Bonatti,* vedi AsHenlc,t 

Che avcre intcso al cuoio cd alio spago 

Ora vorrebbe, ma tardi si pente, 12a 

Ve^di ie tristc che la^iciaron I' ago» 

La spuola e il fiiao, e fecersi indovine ; 
Fecer malic con erbe e con imago.J 

Sec Guido Bonatti, see Asdcnte, who would now 
wish that he had attended to his leather and hift 
twine^ bjl too late he repents. See the wretched 
women who abandoned the needle^ the shuttle, 
and the distafT, and became fortune-tellers; and 
wrought baneful spells with herbs and images (of 

*Gukft) Bonatti t A celebrated astrologer of Forll^ at the 

time that it was under the dominion of the Ghibellmc chief, 
Count Guido da Montcfc^-ltro, who i!^ tiatd to have relied greatly 
for a time on Outdo Honatli's predictions. Benvenuto relates, 
however, a Innf:; story showing how the faith of the Count in 
the astrologer was entirely destroyed by his failing to predict 
a storm which a certain peasant had warned the Count would 
assuredly take place, from certain movements he had observed 
about his ass's ears. The ass proving the better weather- 
prophet, Guido Bonatti fell into disgrace with Guido da Monte- 
feltro, and according to tradition died of grief in cooiiequcncc. 
He wrote a treatise on astrology which is mentioned by Murs- 
torij Gclli and other CoTnmentator^. 

i AidcnU : A cobbler of Parma, whom Bcnvenuto dismisses 
very contemptuously, saying that even it he did presage events, 
it must have been from nature rather than from Iitcr.iturr. of 
which he was profoundly ignorant. Dante alludes to him in 
Conv. iv, I&, II. fcg'ji- 

\ maiie can crbe r con ima^o : " Fuosst fare malie per virtil dt 
eerte erbe medianti alcunc parole, o per imagine di cer* o 
d* altrn faitc in ccrli. punli et per ccrto niodo che» tcncndo 
quesle ima>;ini al Iugco o hccando loro spilletti nel capo, cos} 
pare chc senia c^lui a cui imagine elle sono fatlc, come U 
imagine che si strugga al fuoco." {A»onimo Fwretititwj, 

Canto XX. Rfadwgs on the In/erno. 




The Poets are now quitting the Fourth, and are 
passing into the Fifth Bolgia^ in which are punished 
the Batattkri, that is, those who trafficked for public 
oftices, or were guilty of peculation while holding; 

We now come to one of the niost important refer- 
ences to time in the Cantka of the Infftno, wherein 
Virgil tells Dante that the Moon, which only on the 
previous day had been at the full, is just setting on 
the horizon. Dr. Moore (Time Ke/ircnces^ p. 43) says 
that the time is indicated by the setting of the Moon 
below Seville, i.e. in the West, The extreme Western 
limit of the world was in those days regarded as the 
Pillars of Hercules, which term was often variously 
expressed by Dante as Spain, Cadiz, the Ebro^ Mor- 
occo, etc The time, therefore, now indicated would 
be about 6 a,m. on Easter Eve. The allusions in the 
Infertui are never to Sun-risinfj, but to Moon-setting. 
Dr. Moore considers that all Danle's calculations 
refer to the Calendar Moon, and nut to the real 

Ma vicnne omai« chc gi& ttene il confine 

D' amendue gli cmisperi, c tocca 1' onda 
Sotlo Sibilia, Caino e le spine,* 


*C««0 ^ ti spine : Compare Par. ii^ 4i)'5i :^ 

** Ma ditcmi, chc son li segni bui 

Di questn corpo, che laggiusn in terra 

Fan di Catn fd.vol<:ggiarc altrui ? " 

!)ts was the o'd Italian way of sayinj^ '^Thc Man in the 

Mood." Several iiassagcs in Sb3.kc?ipcarc's Midsummtr-Night's 

Dream refer |o the same belief. Act tii, sc, i : '* Find out muon- 

|*hinc. . . . Why, Ihcn you may leave a casement . , , open; 

laad the moon may ahine in at the ca'-emcnt. ■ . . Aye; or 

lr1»e one ma«l come in with a bush of thcrns and a lanthorn 

136 Readings on the Inferno. Canto XX. 

E gi& iernotte fu la luna tonda: 

Ben ten dee ricordar, ch^ non ti nocqut 
Alcuna volta* per la seiva fonda/"^ — 

Si mi parlava, ed andavamo introcquct ijo 

But now come on, for already Cain wilh his thorns 
occupies the confines of both the hemispheres {t.e. 
the Moon is setting on the horizon), and touches 
the wave below {i.e. to the westward ol) Seville^ 
and only yesternight was the Moon full: well 
shouldest ihou remember it, for she did thee no 
harm on a certain occasion in the deep wood." 
Thus spake he to me, and we were moving on the 

and say, h^ comes to disfigure or to present the person of 
moonshine." Again in Act v, sc» 1 : — 

''Thia lanthorn da(h ihe horned moon present; 
Myself the man i' th' moon do seem to be." 
Ibid. " All that 1 have to say is to tell you that the lanthorn i» 
the moon ; 1, the man in the moon ; this thorn-bush roy thorn' 
bush ; and this doj* my dn^." 

* nun ti Tiocqiu akuiui vulta : This means that the moon 
helped him with her light. We may infer not only that Dante 
was many hours in the dark wood, but allegoncajly, that we 
have, as it were, a retrospect of his whole life. 

i inirocquc : Benvenuto says that ihis word, derived from 
inter hoi,''^\r\ the intcrjm,'' was in use in the time of Dante, 
but that in hts (Henvenuto'sl time, it had already fallen into 
disuse at Florence, though it was still pre&crved at Perugia. 
In the Dc Vulg. Eioq. i, ij, LI. 13-20, Dante himself cites the 
word as an inRtance of a Florentine barbarism : '* Kt quoniam 
Tusci prae aliis in hac cbrietate bacchantur, dignum utilequc 
videlur mtinieipalia vulgaria TuGcanorum singulutim in aliquo 
depompare. Loquuntur Florentini, ct dicunt;— 
' Manlchiamo intro-quc ; 
No) non facciamo altro." " 
In Macchiavelti^s somewhat spiteful Discorso in c hi si tiamtHa 
se h LinfiUQt in cm\ scriisero Dante, ii Boccaccio^ e ii Ptinirca^ si 
d<bb& rhiitmari Haliana, Toscana^ Fiorentitw, he throws 
eapecial ridicule on tntrocqne^ 


XXI. Readings on the Infenw, 



THB KMjHTH circle (continued)— the FIFTH BOLGIA . THE 

Is this Canto we Hnd the Poets on the arch of the 
bridge thai surmounts the Fifth Bolgia. In the 
valley below them are immersed in boihng pitch 
public officials who trafHcIved for the purchase or the 
sale of offices of state, or traded with those who 
isought the interest or favour of their employers. 
Two Cantos are devoted to the liarrators,* and in 

• The Barrators : GclJi stales thai in his time (1560) the word 
tralStrta mcsrvt something entirely di^erent from what it did 
the time of Dante, namely, a place of public entertainment, 
there cards and dice, exclusively supplied to customers by the 
t*bli»hmcnt. were used. The proprietor or manager of thia 
e^, called the baraitien, was bound lo repay any money 
wa« loKt with card» or dice other than those he supplied. 
vould therefore take ^ood care that hi:i customers used no 
bul hi*. In the time of Dante such places were known 
K^tu. (Sec In/, xi, 44). Gelli rcnu'mbcrs two of (hcsc 
Kbiifthments at Flnrcnce, near where the public women 
10 take ihcir stand. But baraUtriti in J^oo mearl the 
! and riolation o[ justice, and by baraitiiri were understood 
, vba being corrupted by money or other proht, bought 
umI M>ld juAticc, Murray {A Stu- Lni^tifh Dictionary on His- 
Jmus i /*^ln{-lJ^/f3, Oxford, iHi^s) givefithc fullowingsigniJicattDna 
BFTrt/cr among oihcra : "(») One who deals fraudulently 
4nei>x or office ; (2) a person who buys or sells ecciesi- 
irefermcnt, a Kimdniac or siinoniKt ', one who buys or 
us of state ; (3) a Judj^e who takci& bribes.'^ 


Readings on ike Inferno. Canto xxi. 

this twenty-first Canto Dante confines himself to the 
consideration of those in the first category, namely. 
those who trafficked for the purchase or sale of public 

We may note that no two classes of sinners roused 
such indignation in Dante as the Simonists and the 
Barrators. Each class marred the purity of his ideal 
state, wherein the Pope should exercise the spiritual 
functions, and the Emperor the temporal. The 
Simonists traded for the spiritual offices, the Bar- 
rators for the temporal offices. Against the Simonists 
Dante was unable to restrain his outspoken wrath; 
the Barrators, however, he represents as reduced to 
such degradation that their condition only excites 
ridicule and contempt. 

Benvenuto divides the Canto into four parts- 

In Divmon I, from ver. I to ver. 21, Dante de- 
scribes the pitch boiling in the Bolgia, and compares 
it to that which he has seen in the Arsenal at Venice. 

In Division II, from ver. 22 to ver. 57^ he sees a 
black Demon bring; the body of a Barrator, which he 
hurls down into the pitch. 

In Division III, from ver, 58 to ver. 105, the De- 
mons, who are about to attack Dante, are appeased 
by the remonstrances of Virgil. 

In Division IV, from ver. 106 to ver. 139, the chief 
of the Demons, Malacoda, tells off ten of his band to 
escort the Poets alonf; the edge of the Bolgia. 

Division I. — Dante commences this Canto by link- 
ing it on to the last one, showing that there was no 
break in his conversation with Virgil until their 
attention was aroused by a new scene. 

Canto ixi. Readings on the Jnfcrno. 139 

Co&i di ponte in ponte, altro parlando 

Che la mia commedia* cantor npn cura, 
Vcnimmo, c tcnevamo il colmo,. quando 

Riatcmmo per vedcr V altra fessura 

Di Malebolgc, e g!i altri pianti vani ; t 5 

E vjdila mirabUmente oscura. 

Thus from bridge to bridge we came along, dis- 
coursing of other matters, which my comedy cares 
not to sing, and we had gained the summit (of the 
fifth bridK«), when we slopped to look upon the 
next fissure of MaUliot^c, and the next vain 
lamentations {i.e. a new set of sinners weeping to 
no purpose) ; and I saw it (was) wonderfully 

* tomfHtdia : Gclli reffiaflLs that manj' of his conti^mporancs 
bUmed Dante for calling his poem a Commcdia, and that ihcy 
had persuaded themselves that no one had a ri^tit tu make 
uiy *ort of composition thai did not blindly follow the rules of 
the Greeks, or those laid down by Aristotle in that portion of 
hiB Koclics whiijh was in existence in Gelli's days ; and which 
he l«men»s that his iendrancc of Greek has compelled him to 
fttudy only from Latin versions^ H it be an error on Dante's 
p«rt tn call a Commedia that which travels so far from the 
rules of the Greek staf;r, it was a far more excusable error in 
1300, when »o little knowledge of Greek subjects had rcathcd 
Italv, than it would have been in his (Gelli's) time in 15^K>, 
Cclii proteMR against a slavish imitation of all that is Greek. 
Msny arltH(« have begun by following the ancients, and then 
afterwards have improved upon them. Neither Brunellcschi 
in building the great Cupola at Florence, nor Michael Angclo 
in hi« many great works, tied themselves down to ancient 
role* of architecture, and yet their works are none the less 
bcaaltful : «" that there is no cause to wonder that Dante too 
has composed a poem, which though not strictly in accordance 
«ith the rules oj the artcientf^it yet posscss^es no less art and no 
lesa beauty than thtrir ci^m positions, 

f gU altri pianti PJtti : Riagioli saya that this is a very beauti- 
ful way ofcxprcfisiii^ poetically : git atiri cfu piangotio in mno, 
Uke ib'e passage in In/, xiii. 131, 13a:— 

'■ li mcnommi al ccspuRlio che piangea. 
I*er le rotturt sanguincnlt, invano." 




Although Dante is more especially speaking^ of 
their passage from the bridge of the Fourth Bolgia 
to that of the Fifth, he probably intends also to 
speak generally of all the bridges they have left 
behind them. Benvenuto thinks they must have 
been talking about the soothsayers. No doubt' as 
they traversed each bridgeway, they would be speak- 
ing of what they had most recently seen ; and this 
not only shows the great length of the bridgeways, 
but also leaves one to infer that Dante had only 
touched upon the most striking incidents, and men- 
tioned the most important personages, although 
there were many more that he did not think worthy 
of his notice. 

Benvenuto remarks '* that Dante has given to the 
Barrators a most suitable punishment. He repre- 
sents them tormented in a valley hlled with glowing 
and boiling pitch, and this for several allegorical 
reasons. First, because pitch is dark and black, 
and Barratry {i.e. jobbery) blackens with infamy ; 
secondly, because pitch is tenacious, viscous and 
sticky, and so is Barratry, which is founded upon 
Avarice, and whosoever is once infected with it is 
never again able to get quit of it ; thirdly, because 
pitch defiles all who touch it, as Solomon has said. 
And in like manner this Barratry is a pitch so con- 
tagious, that if a very saint were to enter a Court, or 
hold offices about one, he would become a Barrator, 
as in fact I have myself witnessed in several cases ; 
fourthly, because all that is below the surface of the 
pitch is unseen, and in like manner Barratry plies its 
craft occultly and secretly. And the author (Dante) 


Canto XXT. Readings on the Inferno. 



describes the punishment of this sin by a beautiful 
comparison about the Arsettal of the Venetians, 
which is a place of great strength and capacity, 
where ships are built, and all the machinery and 
engines that afe necessary for them ; and conse- 
quently a large quantity of pitch for caulking the 
vessels is always to be seen there seething in large 

Quale neir Ar»an&* de' Viniziani 

BoIIc r inverno U tenace pcce 
A nmpalmar li le^i lor non sani, 
Chfr navicar non ponno.t e in quella vece J id 

I, Aa 

m A' 

*mir Anan4 : "Arscnalc arzan& It, Sp. Fr. Engl, arsenal^ 
Orcck ifurtiiaktit } It. dursetiUj Sic. tirznna^ the part of a har- 
ttfMr, which it chained ofJF, a wet-dock - Fr. Jarsc danine^ 
Sp- aittratana^ ataracitnalf covered shed, Fg. taracirnu Uncna ■ 
from ihc Arabic dtir a^^ind "^n, house of industry, ett:." (Don- 
ittri. Htymfktj^ical Dictionary) ■ St^artazzini savs that the arscna] 
^ ivhiLh DanLe is speaking is the tild nne^ buitt in 1 104^ and in 
Da,ntc'* lime reckoned one of the most important in Europe. 
Everything coniicc cd with shipbuilding was prepared there. 
The chief glory* however, of the Venetian arsenal was the 
G*ka:x€ (Galcasses), which were real floating fortres^e?, low in 
the vn»t«r, of great beam, and with crews of upwards of a 
thookftfi'd m''n- The arsenal was surrounded by hig.h battle^ 
mcntcd walU, and Hanked by towers. It was considerably 
incrr«*td in sue about 1303. The new arsenal was built by 
Aiulrea Pisano in ii^j. Wc might add thitt at Genoa the 
Arvenat and the Dockyard are called La Damna, not 
JL' Anenale. 
ifCki aavuar noit portntt : Some read che^ and Blanc (Sdggio, 

^o^i UVB it lA rather difficult to determine whether the che 
the relative referring to ihc ships, or chf m the !>cTiNe of 
**bccaufte«" and referring to the Venetians, There cannot be 
any certainty as to thj&, amcc all the ancient editions were 
without accents or stops. I follow the Oxford text in rcaditig 
CMi 4bccALi»c). 

I in ^tutU iM» : There are two ways of translating: this (i) 
■'in heu thereof;" and (2) ''under those circumstancea." 1 

(olJow No. (I;. 

Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxi. 

Chi fa suo Icgno nuovo, e chi ristoppa 
Le costc a qucJ che piu vlaggi fcue ; 
Chi ribatte da prnda. e chi da poppa \ 
Aitri fa retni,* ed aitri volge sartc ; 
Chi terzeruoto ed artimoni' rintsppa : 15 

As in the Arsenal of the Venetians, in winter* boUs 
the tenacious pitch for the paying the seams of 
their unsound vessels, because they cannot send 
them out to sea, and in Hey thereof, one is build- 
ing himself a new ship, and another is re-caulking 
the sides of that one which has made many voy- 
ages \ one hammers at the prow, and another at 
the stern ; one is makinj^ oars, and another is 
twisting cordage ; one mends the stay-sail and 
(another) the mizzen-saiL 

Gelli (who lived at the court of a sovereign prince, 
Cosmo de' Medicit in 1560) draws attention to the 
very' lengthy discussion of the passage in the text by 
Benvenuto da Imola, who seems to have been inti- 

* rtmi : Dante is probably her^ alluding to the huj^e oan 
that were used in the galleys. Each nar was pulled by five 
men, usually galley-slaves, though some of the galleys were 
rowed by free men. In the narrow streets and alleys of 
Genoa one may still see, here and there, fixed to the outer 
walls of houses* iron brackets on which one of these oars used 
tn rest. The oar, when required^ was lifted down and carried 
to the port by the five men who had to man it. 

flerzcruoto ed artimon : Ry UrseniQlo I understand "stay- 
sail/* which in French v& voile d*ftaij and Lamennais so Iran- 
slates it. Arlimo»i in Italian^ and artimon in Frerich is the 
mizzen-sail. But it would seem that in those days the mixxen- 
saiL wasthe larf^est of all : anyhow Buti tells us&o: '^^Arttmone 
e Ja maggjorvcla cheabbia la nave, tcrzffuoto h la minorc ; im- 
perocch^ la nave porta tre veic : una grande, che si chtama 
artimnnc ; una mezzann, che si chiama la mezrana ; c un' altra 
nfiinore, che si chiama tcrzeruolo" P^re Bcrthier (La Divina 
Commedia^ 4to, vol. 1, p. 373) observes that Dante, wishing to 
include all kinds of sails, speaks of the two extreme sizes, the 
smallest and the largest. He ako says of artimon^ : " Vela 
maggiore inatberata Bulla poppa." 

^ant^fXr. Readings on tht Infcfno, 


I ait 


mately acquainted with the intrigues of a Republican 
Court in 1375. Barratry existed alike under the 
monarchical and under the republican forms of 


Dante had begun speaking of the boiling pitch in 
II. 7, 8, and after the parenthesis about the Arsenal, 
he describes the immense lake of boiling pitch in 
this Botgia. 

Tal non per foco ma per divina arte 
Bollia iaf^gjuso una pegoU spcssa 
Che inviscava la ripa da ogni parte. 

lo vcdea lei, ma non vcdeva In csaa 

Ma' chc* Ic balle che il boLlor levava, zo 

E gonfiar lutu, e riaeder compresaa. 

Even so down below there a thick pitch was 
boiling— not by fire, but by Divine agency — ^which 
bclimed the bank on every side. I saw tt, but saw 
not in it aught elst but the bubbles which the 
ebullition ranged, and {I i^aw) the whole heave up, 
and contracting subside again. 

Dutiiiifti 11. — Dante is staring down, trying to 
iDtlte out the horrible spectacle, when Virgil arouses 
^im by the warning of imminent danger. He looks 
found, and there appears suddenly before his terrified 
f/ut, one of the MaUbranche^ or black Demon cus- 

*U^ cJu : This is cquivaltnl lo wrtC'i '/"'J'", except^ save, 
UkIiI else Ihan, rtc ficlh %^y% ihv rxpressinn was in com- 
aon wr In Dante's timc^ bul in His (Ge]li's)own time wtts only 
rtlaincd in l^rnbardy. Compare Inf. iv, iti— 

'* Son avca pianto ma' che di soapiri," etc 
iiiid w - on the word. 

Aa<l 1.66:— 

** u jion nvea ma' ch' un' orecchia sola." 
CompAre alM> Purg. xvju, 53; and Par. xxit, 17. 

todians of this Boigia, whose duly it is to torment its 
unhappy inmates. The Demon brings a sinner gro- 
tesquely-seated on his shoulder, and as he speeds 
awav after casting his victim into the boiling pitchy 
the Poets are quickly brought into contact with the 
rest of the loathsome crew. This is. I think, the 
only passage in the Inftrtw where vve are allowed to 
see the arrival of a shade at its place of punishment. 

Mcnlr' in Ugjp^iA fisaincnte mirava, 

Lo Duca mio, dJccndo ; — ^"Guarda, guardat"- — 
Mi trsisse a b^ * del loco dov' io slava. 

Allot mi volsi come V uom cui tarda + 

Di veder quel che gli convien fuggirc, 
E cui paura subita sgagliarda, 

Che per veder non indugia il partire : 
E vidi dietro ■ noi un diavol ncro 
Correndo su per lo scoglio venire. 

While I was gazing steadfastly down below there, 
my Leader, exclaiming ; " Beware, beware/' drew 
me to him from the spot where I was standing. 
Then I turned me round like the man who is im- 
patient to see that fro^ which he must perforce 
nee, and whom sudden fear unmans, (and) who for 


* mi trtuu a si : Compare Purg. viii, 94, 915, where we ftnd 
the R»mc expression used on the approach of the Evil One in 
the form of a serpent : — 

" CoTTi' ei parlava, c SordeUo a si H traasc 

Dicfndo: '^V'cdi 1^ iL nostro avvcraaro!*" 

^i^cuitarda: Compare /«/. ix, g:— 

" Oh quanto tarda a vnc ch' altn qui giun^a ! *' 

Others read chf tarda, which means that thtr man delav'S t4 
look at his danji;er until he ha» run far enough away to rnakc 
him feel secure : cui tarda is : '* to whom it Keems a very lonj 
endless time " until he can see what he dreads to look upon: 
that impatient feeling that cannot endure the suspense 
waiting for an evil that one knows is about to befall one. 

into XXL Readings on the Inferno, 



all that he is lookingt delays not his departure 
(i.e. he runs away looking back): and I saw a 
black Demon come runnJDg up behind us along 
the rocky bridgeway. 


The repulsive scene with the Demons which com- 
mences here, is continued throug;h this Canto and 
the next, and only terminates at h 57 of Canto xjtiii. 
The ^e3Lt length of the episode as told by Dante, 
and commented on by Benvenuto and Gelli, shows 
the importance that both the Poet and the Early 

ommentators attached to the crime of Barratry and 

A description is now given of the Demon and of 
the hapless shade he is bearing to its doom. Blanc 
insists that the Demon was carrying the sinner 
astride on his shoulders, holding his ankles with his 
taloned hands; and the late Sir Frederic Burton 
remarked to me that in Michael Angelo's great pic- 
lore of the Last Judgment in the Sixtine Chapel at 
Rome, one of the sinners is represented being carried 
by a Demon in a pasture somewhat similar to this, 
though even more grotesque. Most of the old 

mmentators explain the posture as Blanc does, 

t Benvenuto in his Commentary, and Botticelli 
and l''laxman, in their illustrations, represent the 
mon holding the feel over his shoulders, while 

c body hangs down over his back. Benvenuto 

tnk» he was holding him just as a hawk would 
clutch a quail in its talons. Dr. Moore tells me 
that in Luca Signorelli's fresco of Hell in the 
Cathedral at Orvieto, there is a Demon carrying a 
unoer through the air, whose arm$ he clutches in his 

II. K 


Readings on the tnfctno. Canto xxr. 

talons. The idea seems undoubtedty to have been 
borrowed from this passage in Dante. 

Ahi quanto egli era nelP a^petto fierol 
E quafitfl mi parea ncU* alto acerbo, 
Con r ali aperte, e sopra U pii Uggicro ! 

L' omero suo ch' era acuta c supcrbo, 

Carcava un peccator con ambo V anche, j5 

E que) tenea de^ pi£ ghermitD'"' it ntrbo, 

Ab how ferocious was he in his aspect! and how 
pitiless he sceiried to me in act, with wings out- 
spread, and light upon the foot {i.£. flying and 
running at the same time)! His shoulder^ which. 
was sharp and hiffh, was encumbered by a sinnei* 
with both haunches, and he (the Demon) held the 
tendons of the feet close griped. 

This Demon appears to have awaited the death oF 
his victim on earth, and to have carried hinn off to 
Minos the instant he died ; f and as soon as the Judge 
of Hell had pronounced the sentence^ the Demon must 
have borne the sinner away to the Jake of pitch and 
hurled him in ; after which his terrible comrades did 

* gktrmita: GelH says that the wardj^A^rmtfo expressly signi- 
fies quel ftrire^ striit^ert, t ttiun che fttHtto gti ucctiU rapaci„ and 
that the sinner's feet were being wounded by the talons. 

tComparc tnf. xxvii, ira-iaS, where we are told that when 
Quido da Montcfeitro died, the Demon clutched him as soon 
as ever the breath was out of his body, and bore the spirit 
away to Minos, where he was at once judged and condemned ; 
and we may infer, from Minos acquainting the 6end with his 
doom, that the same bearer carried him down to «hc allotted 
place of punishment. In Pur,^. v, 104, 105, we sec that in (he 
case of Buonconte da Monlefeltro (son of the above Guido), 
the Demon had dogged his dying steps, when, during the 
battle of Campaldtno, he crawled mortally wounded to the 
ri%'er Archiano, and sank down and breathed his last upon th« 
bank, hui as he died making a cross on his bre;i5t with hi» 
anris, the An;gel of God wiis able to prevail and save him 
from perditiori. 

Cstnto XXI. Readings on the Inferno, 


their part of tormenting the quivering frame as soon 
as it reappeared on the surface. 

Before, however, disposing of his burden, the 
Demon addresses the rest of the band, who, we now 
hear, are called MaUhmnche. We have not been 
informed oi their presence, and it is only by reading 
of the alacrity with which they fall upon the sufferer 
(U* 46 et 5eq.)f that we are made acquainted with 
their appearance upon the scene. The Demon in- 
forms them that the shade he is carrying is one of the 
rulers of Lucca, which city, he tells them, is full of 
Barratry, except in the case of one single inhabitant, 

bom he names in irony as being free from that 
vice, whereas in reality the citizen in question was 
the worst offender of all in Lucca, 

■•Del noBtro pantr," — disse, — '^o Malebranche, 
Ecco un dcgli anzian di aanta Zita : * 
Mettctcl sotto^ch' io torno per anihe t 
A qaella terra ch' i' n' ho ben fnrnita ; 40 

OKnun v' * baratticr, fupr chc Bonturo : 
Del no. per U denar^ vi ei fa Ha." — \ 

*miaiaHJi sanla Zita ; One of iKe Ancienta, or municipal 
I of Lucca, which city is called Santa Ziia. from being 
■ tty devoted to that Saint. The An^iatii at Lucca was 
! corrtipondiriR term to the Priori at Flortrnct. *' Le t<im- 
I de lainte Zite e»t danti T^j^hse de San Frediano, vieille 
et CttrieiMC basUique, ct son histDire csl le Mijct d'une conn- 
plluinte populaire que jai achctee danii la rue. Sainte Zile 
c«l U Pamila de U l^gende ; c'itait unc pauvre servante que 
aon maitrr voulait aiduire,* (Amptrc, La Grlet^ Rome et 

ff€r anfke: This appears to be the only instance in the 
DsvMM Cvmrnudia for buch a use of anctte, which has here the 
ofrfi piUt atirif etc., and the sentence might be par»- 
1 thaa : - 

" perch^ io riti^rno per ctrcamc ancora.'* 
X^ w" o««* in Latin for "yea," The Vofalxtlario tteUn 




Readings on ike Inferno, Canto xxi- 

"O Malebranche of our bridge/' said he, "behold 
one of the Ancients of Santa Zita {i.£. of Lucca) ; 
thrust him under, for 1 am returning again for 
yet more unto that city, which I have got well 
stocked with them: there every one is a Barrator 
except Bonturo : there for money out of Nay is 
made Aye." 

This means that every favour, at first refused, is 
afterwards granted on payment of a bribe. For 
gold every negative is turned into an affirmative, and 
ever>' falsehood accounted as a truth. " But/* adds 
Benvenuto, " this queen, money, does possess that 
power, and even greater than that, not only at the 
little Court of Lucca, but also in the great Court of 

Having summoned his fell comrades, the Demon 
casts the miserable Barrator into their clutches, and 
darts off in quest of other prey. The Malebranclu 
rush upon their victim* and after deriding the pos- 
ture his contracted limbs have assumed, which theyl 
compare to that of a worshipper of the Santo Volto 
at Lucca^ they thrust their pronged weapons into 
his body, and immerse it into the boiling pitchy as a. 
cook does to boiling meat 

Cruita explains it as ah adverb equivalent to ii "yes.'* L*ni 
slaUa that it was the custom in the Council of Lucca for i 
voting urns (o be sent round, in which the votinR papers were 
collected, the onebting for>4yirs, anJ the other for Ntwi. ■*Such 
however (Lana adds) was the corrupsion among the Council- 
men, that when it was unquestionably for the public weal that 
their votes should be cast into the iVc urn. they would readily, 
for the sake of a bribe, cast them fl.mon^ the Ayei." Frofcuor 
De Tivoli once told Dr. Moore that this refers to a fraudulent 
alteration by the pen of the word ^*no" into the word **ita." 

Canto XXI. Readings on the Inferno. 


Laggiit il buttd, c: per \o acoglto dure 

Si volsct* e mai non fu maslino scjoho 
Con tanU frctta+ a seguitar lo furo, 

Qupi s'' attulT6^ e torn(> su convotto ; X 

Ma i demon, cbe del pon(e avean copcrchio, 
Grid^r: — "Qui non ha loco jl Santo VoUo,^ 


*Sivo\u: Contrast this account with that in Pmp^. ii, 4^-51, 
*rf Ihf souU of the saved being conveyed in a boat over the 
'CR by the Angci Pilot, who, after he has blessed and dts- 
'"ibarkcd them, speeds rapidly away to bring off another 
^tload from the shores of the Tiber:— 

" Poi fccc it Bcgno lor di banta croce ; 

Ond' ei si gittir tutti in suHa piag^ia, 
Ed ci sen gl, comevcnne, veloce." 
^nai non fu mastiiw scioito con tanta fntia, ctc> ; Some have 
wroneooBiy interpfctcd Ibis; "'Neverwas a masliff unloosed 
•0 quickly." The right Tsense is: " Never was a mastiff, that 
^ubcen untoo&ed by his master, oH no quick in pursuit of the 
tiitej, a» waB thiK demon to speed away^ in order to seek fresh 
*Ktini« in the corrupt state of Lucca. 

\cenvi>iU> : Others read col volto, or con voHo, and both these 
''inAntA, AS well as the right way of interpreting ionvoUo^ have 
Pwn ri).c to much controversy. Dr. Moore 1 Tixtital Criticism, 
^ ipi Kays that we may safely condemn the reading col volto^ 
Aoufjh it seems to be in the majority of MSS- Con volto may 
utily have been a clerical error, but both readings are utterly 
(ttble in sense, and miss what is probably the point of the 
Iwter ;Mt of the demons, who affect to suppose, when the 
■ifcritinaic huraftun comes to the surface *' doubled up '* (con- 
*^r thai he is in the altitude of prayer^ and hence the gibe^ 
•f^iw v« Ad loco il Santo Vnlio." 
laSttMto VeUo: This i& an exceedingly ancient statue of the 
} t>dtmer, of great beauty and noble features, supposed to 
Lfttiv been carved by a Byzantine hand. It is preserved and 
nicd in B private chapel in the middle of the Cathedral 
FLvcca. Lana asserts that it was a common custom among 
I Loccbcse in his time, in any circumstance of danger whal- 
• *" • w out: "O Santo Volto or m' iiiuta ! " Ampifc, 
. /nr) &ay& of it : '* Quant au Santo VoUo, je n'ai 
. .-laia k Fistoia on monirt un /aaimik, d'apr^s 
uel il c*! ai«< dc ae convaincrc que roriginal est un crucifix 
min en bota noir, probablement d'une assez haute anti- 
,ct|MHivanl renionter au Vlllme siicle. £poque oii Ton 

150 Readings ott the Inferno, Canto 



Qui HI niiola altrimcnti chr nel Serchio;* 

Fer6 sc tu non vuoi dc' noBtri gra*R,t 50 

Nan fa.r BOpra la pcgota soperchio." — 

?[ue Lucques re^ut ]a prfcieuse image. Dans ce si^de, 
ut celui des Iconoclastes, beaucoup d'objcts parcib durcnl 
fitre transportes en Occident par ceux qui fuyaicnt lea persecu- 
tions des empcreurs isauriens. Void, selon ta legends, t'his- 
totre du Santo Volto. Apr£;s la mort et Tascension du Sauvcur» 
Nicodfeme voulut sculpter de souvenir la figure de Jesus Christ 
crucifix ; d^jfi il avait taill^ en bois la croix ct le bqstc, et 
tandis qu'ii s'effDrfjait k sc rappckr les traits de son divin 
module, il s^endormit ; mais ^ son revcil il trouva ia sainte 
tfitc sculptee et son oeuvre achevee par unc main celeste." 

* Serchw : The name of a river which flows close by Lucca, 
and fatl& into the Mediterranean near Viareggio. Compare 
Shelley, The Boat on the Scrchw: — 
"... the boat makes head 
Against the Serchio's torrtnt fierce, 
Then flags with intermittent course, 
And hangs upon the wave, . . . 
Which fervid from its mountain source 
Shallow, smooth, and strong, doth come,— 
* Swift as fire tempestuously 

It sweeps Into the affrighted seal 
In morning smile its eddies cnjl. 
Its billows sparkle* toss and boil, 
Torturing all its quiet light 
Into columna fierce and bright^ 
The Serchio, twisting forth 
Between the marble barriers which it clove 
I At RipafrattBf leads through the dread chasm 

The wave that died the death which lovers love. 
Living in whal it sought." 
See also Fulci, Morguttle Muf;givre^ Canto xxiv, si. 141 :^ 
"Qui si Nuola nel sanguc c non nel Serchio." 
t^Fdj^.' Not, as ScartaTizini explains it, grafiatore, but as 
the Gtan Dh'tonarlo (h.\. j^m^o, ^ 4^ renders it "strumento di 
ferro che anche si dice ra^o (see I. 52); ed era asatn czanrfio 
neir antica milizia, calandosi dalle mura contra coloro che 
volcvano salire a rompere CRse mura, per aggrapparJi e tirarU 
su toRto per aria." Buti commenting on ra^ (I. 52) i^ys : 
" Raffio tanto &^ a dire, quanto graffio, Qttcsln fe uno strumento 
di fcrro con denti uncinuti. ed ancor n' 3, uno appuntato lunijo." 
Compare Afiosto, Orl. fur. xlii, at. 9: — 

Canto XXI. Reatiings on the Inferno, 



Poi r addcntJtr cod pi^i di cento ra^ ; 

Disscr '. — " Coperlo ccifivien che qui balli^ 
Si the, se puoi, nascosamcnte accaffi."— * 

Non ahrimenti i cuochi ai lor vassalli 55 

Fanno aituffarc in mc2/o U caldaia 
La carnc coglj uncin, perche non galJi.1' 

Down there he hurled him, and turned hack over 
the rujjged bridgeway, nor ever was an unloosed 
mastiff off in such haste to pursue a thief (as this 
Demon sped away). He (the Barrator) plunged in, 
and rose again doubled up ; but theDemonfi^ who 
had (made) a hiding-place of the bridge, shouted 
out; " Here the Santo Volto has no place; here 
one swims otherwise than in the Serchio; there* 
fore unless thou art wanting some of our claws^ 
come not out above the pitch." Then they 
pronged him with more than a hundred drag-hooks ; 
sa.ying : "'Under cover must thou dance about 
here, so that if thou can'st thou mayest do thy 
trafficking secretly." Not othenvise do the cooks 
have the meat kept down by their scullions in the 
middle of the cauldron with their forks, so that it 
float not on the top. 

**CarBC lo eptrio alt' acque, ande lirolto 
Caron ncl legno suo col Krafftn adunco." 
Compare altM> Buonarotti, La Fiern^ Giorn. iv, Tntroduzifme^ 
p^ 511, where tnifress*^ addressing Rapacttd, ?ays : — 
•• Non II sco*tar da me, stanimi vitina 

Scmpre co' graffi luoi, co' tuoi rastrelli.^ 
»<ntffi : "AccAPPAfce. Alt. c N, ass. Afferrarc^ f^hcrfnin 
[to tripe]. tArrc Cfn violenza," It is said to havt an afiinity 
of »aund to Capiar*, iGran Dhionarw), ^' Aunj^ty ciofe piftli, 
cotnc ac* u&ato nc] mondo di pi|;]Jare . . . occultamcntc." 
(BoCt, on thin passage). Francho 8acche(ti {NoxetU, 2, 3^) 
«Bcs the word in a jocobc, punning sense : '* Comfch^ ben ^Li 
larcbbc ttato, che in quel icinpo ch« siette in Catfa, un allro 
M raveaseaccaffato.'* On this word Caffa^ see Gran Dizionario^ 
ft.T. M/Wn; *' Fweafffio la ni^d, tcrmincdcl giuocodisbaraglio, 
r •hon^lina [haci^ammon]." 

fgaUt: Compare Purg. x, 137: — 

" Ot ib< r animn vostrw in alto gftlla ? " 
G*ii*n It. to nwint, exult, fture a golta^ to float- Not frotn 

^^^^igz Readings on thi Inferno. Canto jmT 

^H By the expression pin di cento raffia we may realise 
^M what a swarm of the Demons must have been there* 
^B The hapless sinner was struck by as many of them 
^H as could possibly crowd together on the bank, or in 
^H the air above himi. 

^M Division III. — Virgil now finds it necessary to 
^M have a parley with the Malebrandu^ before exposing 
^1 Dante to their fury. He accordingly makes him 
^H conceal himself behind a rock, while he himself 
^H walks forward and accosts the loathsome company, 
^H as we saw him do before the gates of the City of Dis 
^1 (Canto ix). 

^^1 La buon Maestro: — " AcciocchS non si paia 
^^^^^ Che tu ci Eli," — mi disse, — ^'giu t' acquatta,* 

^^^^V the floating of the gall nut, but probably froin Gallia^ c/. Sp. 
^^^^P tetier muiho galloj tu be very arrogantf It. gullaria, exultatiort." 
^^^^^ (Donkin, Etymolog\ml Dictionary), 

^H *t' actfuiittit : See Gran Dixionario^ s.v. ac^uatiare, ^ t : 
^^H "Chinarsi a terra il piQ basso che T uom pu& per non cbscr 
^^H visto senza pero porsi a giacere . . . Tenersi quatto, piccino, 
^^1 zitto dktro a sotto a cosa che copra." Compare Franco 
^^1 Sacchettt, Nov, 76: *' MattL-o acquattasi dietro all' appog^io 
^^1 del banco.'' Also Michel, Buonarrttti, La Fiera, Giorn. iv. 
^^1 Act iu sc, 7 : — 

^^B ^'Ch' un destru schermo 
^H L* acquattarmi mi fu, chinando il capo." 
^^1 Biagiali says that from the Latin ceactns ts derived quaUo 
^^B "squatting, cowering^'' ^nd from coartarc eomes acqua^t^rsL 
^H Scartazjiini observer that iti many it wilt appear strange that 
^H Virgil should make Dante hide himself from Ihe Demons, when 
^^1 only just before the Poets had been standing on the rock 
^^1 bridge without a thought n) concealtnenl. I'he only explanA> 
^H tion is that th« Demons were so occupied with the unztaKo of 
^H Santa ^ila^ that th«y never looked up, and the Poets must 
^^1 have perceivtrd that so far the Demons had not become aware 
^H of their presence:; on (he lop of the lofty bridge, under the arch 
^^^ of which they theinselves had Ihelr station immediairly below. 

Canto JLi, Rtadings on the Inferno. 


Dopn * uno scheggio che alcun schermo t' haia ;t 
E per nuJIa oflension che mi sia fatta, 61 

Non temer tu, ch' jo ho le cost conte^J 
Ptrchft altra volta fuj a lal baraita." — % 

The good Master said to me; *' In order that it 
may not be observed that thou art here, crouch 
down behind a crag that thou niayesl have some 
screen for ihce ; and for whatever outrage that be 
offered to me, fear not thou, for 1 have i^ood 
knowledge of these things, as 1 have been once 
before in a tike contention/^ 

Benvenulo remarks that there is an allegorical 
signification in Virgil being represented going for- 
virard alone to reconnoitre and see whether he could 
have a free passage. The greatest precautions must 
be taken by him who is about to enter into a court 

*Dapo: Ustd here in the sense of "behind." Compare 
VixK- tVJb^. iii, ig, 20 :— 

" Et cum tiamarem : Quo nunc se proripit ilk ? 
TitjTCj CDgc pccus ; tu post carecla latcbas." 
tAdM for abbia or a^gia. Latin habcat. This is an archaic 
fotm, and is cited by Nannucci, Virbi, p. 507. Compare Par. 
: xvii, 140^ 141 : — 

" Ni ferma fedc per csemplo ch' haia 
La sua radice incognita e nasco:ia." 
Nannacci {ManuaU ddla kit. itat., etc, znd cdnion, VoL i, pp. 
216 wm! 441) protests against Dante beinu supposed to have 
lifted haut for the sake of the rhyme, for old writers frequently 
used ttjM when there was no rhyme : e,g. Brunetto Latini in the 
Ttsortito : — 

•' Dc' uom antivtdere 

Ci& chc poria aegulre, 
Dt qucLIo, che 'ncomen^a, 
Ch' aia beJIa partcn/a." 
I tonU - co^ttiU^ c^fttoiciuU. " (Juasi dicat : bene novi fraudes 
tttorum baratanorum," (henvenuto). 

^hmratia : Contest, contention. Compare Ditiamtmihy 
Canto ii, 33: — 

"Qui non ti conto la mortal baratta 
Ch' ci (c' co' Saracin.** 

Readings on the Inferno. Canto XXI. 

where Barratry prevails^ especially if he be lacking 
in experience, and is not acquainted with all the 
crafty schemes that will surround him. And when 
Virgil tells Dante about his previous experience of 
such things, he alludes in the first instance to his 
supposed descent into Hell, when summoned by 
Erichlho (7m/. ix, 22-24) ^^ visited the whole of Hell ; 
but Benvenuto fancies Virgil is speaking from histor>', 
and implying that once in his young life, long a^o, 
he had often been in similar scenes, when after 
having been despoiled of his estate^ he went to the 
Court of the great Auf^ustus^ and before he could 
become known to that Emperor and obtain his 
favour,, he had for a time to be continually passing 
through the hands of courtiers and officials, some of 
whom of course were corrupt jobbers, against who^ 
frauds not even so just a sovereign as was Augustus 
could altogether guard himself. Hence Diocletian, 
a most upright Emperor^ is said to have remarked, 
that no matter how good, how pure in his life, how 
excellent an Emperor might be, yet he is always 
being bought and sold by his courtiers, 

Virgil having placed Dante in concealment steps 
forward. The Demons instantly rush upon him with 
levelled forksi but are checked by his resolute de- 
meanour; and he requests them to send forward one 
of their number to confer with him. 

Poscia pass6 di Ik dal co' dc) ponte,* 

*cc' del ponk : Compare tnf, xx, 76: — 

"Tasto chr ]' acqua a correr mette co'." etc. 
Compare also Purg. ir, 127-129, where Manfred uses the tx- 
pression in describing how his bady was buried under a great 
cairn near the head of the bridge of benvenuto: — 

^antoXXt, Readings vn the Inferno. 155 

E com* ei giunae in su la ripa sesta,* 65 

Mcsticr gli fu d' aver sicura fronle. 

Con quel Furor c con quella tempci^ta 

Ch' cscono ] cani addnsso a] po'vereito, 
Che di Bubito chiede ove s' arrcsta,t 

Uaciron quei di sotto al ponticetloj 70 

E vQ[^er coniro lui tulti i roncigU \ 
Ma ei grid5: — ** Nesstm di voi sia fello.J 

Innan^i che 1' uncin vostro mi pigli, 

Traggasi avanti I' un di voi Ghi; m' oda, 

E poi d' arroncigliarmi si consigli/' — 75 



** L* on&A del mio corpo saricno ancora 

In co' del pome presso a Bene\ento* 
Sotto la guardia delta grave mora." 
And Fur lii, 96: — 

" Onde non trasse infino a co' la spa) 1," 
*wifnt S£sta : In Canto xix^ 40, we learn thai Ibe Poets were 
Ujindini; upon the Fourth Rampart {ttrgine quarU>), In xix, 
ix&» 12^, V^irgil had carried Dante 

"... aopra i| colmo deir arco, 
Che dal quarto al quinto ari^inc i tragctto/' 
In Kz, 130, they had leu thatbrid^c^ and were walking onwards, 
fcnd (jixi, 5) had reached the crown of the hridjje which over- 
looks the Fifth Bolguu and crosses from the Fifth to the Sixth 
KAifipart (rifia). From the crown of this bridge the}' have 
witaowcd the ghastly episode of the iiHziano of Lucca. Virgil 
hMs now walked from the bridge 00 tn the Sixth Kampart, 
hravirii; Dante crouching in terror behind a rock upon the 

fort s* arreita : " Praecipue ad domum dJvitis ; quia com- 
fltoaitef pauper firmat Re ad ostium divitis, et in domo dtviti^ 
coenmuniler sunt niuUt canes." (Benvenuto). 

\/fliv: " mal pensanle." (Scartazzini). *' Fello g colui che 
penta fitr male akrui." (Bull). See the word in Donkin's 
Eiymoit^tcal Outtonarr : ^' FtUo It, Prov. Old French fti, 
irrr.jfuit. uriclccd : \x. felkiHt^ wickcd wretch, Old Sp, /c/cm. /dlon 
\'T. fiUsn, perjured traitott Engl, felon; It- OJd Sp. 
Prov. /r/nid ftunia^ profligacy^ wickedness, Fr fitottte^ 
Sp, /eiemim, (rcachcrv (csptcially of a vassal), En^l- Jelony. 
From Che A.S. and Engl./f/l. Dutch /W. Prov. and Old French 
Bom. «ine fH i/4b) ace fchn, whence the other form*, and fem. 


Readings on the htftrno. Canto XXJ. 

Then he passed on beyond the bridge-head, and 
when he had arrived upon the sixth rampart, he 
had full need to show a bold front. With that 
fury and that impetuosity with which do^s rush 
out against the poor beggar, who straightway pre- 
fers his petition from where (for fear of them) he 
makes halt; rushed they forth from under the 
bridge, and levelled against him all their prongs; 
but he cried out : '* Let none of you be planning 
mischief! Before one of your hooks touch me, let 
one of your number step forward who will hearken 
unto mcj and then take your counsel about 
lacerating me*'* 

This determined attitude on the part of V'ifgil has 
its immediate effect upon the fiendish rabble, who 
pause, and desisting from their intended assault 
upon him, call upon their leader, Malacoda, to |^o 
forward. The latter does so, muttering however, 
that he does not think the parley will advantage 
Virgil much. 

Tutti gridiron :— "Vada Malncoda;"— 

Fcrch^ un si mosse. e gli ajtri atcttcr fcrmi ; 
E venne a lui diccndo : — " Che gli approda ? " — 
They all shouted; "Let Malacoda go;" where- 
upon one advanced^ and the others stood still ; 
and he (Malacoda) came to him (Virgil) saying : 
"What good will it do him ? " 

Virgil lakes the high line, and in a very few words 
convinces Malacoda that had he not been armed with 
Divine Authority, it would have been impossible for 
him to have escaped all the perils of the Circles 
above, and to have penetrated so far down into 
Lower HelL 

— '*Cred( tu, Malacoda, qui vedermi 

E^ser venuto," — dissc it mio Maestro, So 

— " SicuFO gi& da tutco vostri schcrmi, 

L;aiito XXI. Rradings on the Inferno, 


Senxa voler divino c fato dcslro ? * 

LascUnc andar^ ch^ ncl cicio t voluta 

Ch' io mostri altrui queato cammin silvcatro." — f 

"Thinkest thou, Malacoda, to see me come here/' 
wid my Master, '^ secure against all your hindraaceSf 
«.\cepl by Divine Will and propitious destiny ? 
Let us go on, for in Heaven it is willed that I 
should show somebody else this toad of wild 

The bully is cowed. Malacoda's weapon falls from 

his hands, and he tells his comrades that at all 

; t\-ents for the present (o^mO. Virgil is not to be 

molested. He might possibly come again at some 

future occasion without so great a safeguard as the 

tWill of God, and then would be their opportunity, 
Allor gli fu r orgoglio si caduto.J 85 


*fiite datra : The pas&age in the text sceina to have be^n 
*uCCnlcd to Dante by the following lines from Virgil (/En. v, 

" Ha. Lid equidcm sine mente, reor, sine numine divi^mf 

Adsumua, et portus delati intramus amico^;.'* 
»ko *6u/. vi, 368, 369 :— 
". * . oeque enim, credo^ aino numine dtvQm 
FItimina tanta paras Stygtamque innare paltidem." 
Vififil ha« on other occasions &imply cited the Will of God as 
W p*Mpnrt through Helli but on this occasion he speaks of 
Hiny. to which, according to Mythology, even the gods were 
Sec Ovid, Mdam, \x, 426 437. 

in silveitm : According to Tommasco sihtstro has the 
al sense of *' horrible," and Dante specially applies it 
*i*n epithet of civil crime. Iti the De V'utg. Eloq. i, 15. 16, 17, 
'^ liusini. Dante shows the distincUon between modi lilvfstri 
*M moi^i »rbani. Scartazzini and Tommasio aay that the 
Kid 11 at one and the &ame time wild and horrible [s(ih(itii:i> e 

■> . cuduio : In Inf. vii, 13-15 we saw that aiinUar 

I tabddcd the arrogance of Plutus : — 
"Qliah del vento Ig goniiate vele 

Caggiono awoHc, poich^ V alber fiacca ; 

Tal cadde a terra la fiera crurlele/^ 

158 ReadinfTs on the Inferno. Canto xxi. 

Che s] la^cio ca^CAr I' unciino ai picdi, 

E dtsse agli altri : — " Omai non sia fcruto," — * 

Then did his arrogance become ao abased, that he 
let the hook fall down at his feet, and said to the 
others : ** For the nonce he mast not be struck." 

Benvenuto thinks that Dante means to imply that 
there are moments when a man, who is at the same 
time upright and prudent, may pass unharmed 
through the hands of such evil Barrators, if he is 
promoting a just cause, and by help of Divine Grace, 
is walking fn the paths of innocency and truth. f 

Virgil, having obtained a promise of imnaunity 
from the Leader of the Demons, calls upon Dante to 
venture from his hiding-place in all security. Ben- 
venuto thinks it is as though Virgil would tell Dante 
that as no suspicion of Barratry has ever been laid to 
his charge, and even though he had at one time been 
one of the Priori or Rulers of Florence, yet» as he had 
never trafficked with the interests of his native city, 
he can have nothing to fear. 

Dante comes forth, but at the sight of the Demons 

*firuto : From the archaic form /ererc for /erire : ao fmm 
petttere is found pctttitio^ and in Neapoliun Italian, from untirt^ 
sentulo instead o'( sintilo. 

+ The Ode of Horace to Aristius FuKUS {Carm. I, 33) » ui 
illuatration of thi» idea that an upright heart will carry a man 
tafe through untold dani^ers: — 

" Integer vitae scclcriaque purus 
Non eget Mauris jaculis et arcu, 
Ncc vcnenatis gra\'Lcla sagittis, 

Fuace pharetra ; 
Sive per Syrles iter acstuosas, 
Sivc facLurus per inhospitalem 
Cancasum, ve] quae loca labulosus 

Lanibit Hyduapcs.** 

Canto XXI, Headings on ike Inferno, 


he manifests as much fear as he once saw exhibited 
after the surrender of the fortress of Caprona in 1289, 
when the terrified garrison marched out throQf];h the 
hostile ranks of the victorious besieginj^ army of the 
Pisans, at the imminent risk of being butchered, 
unarmed as they were^ by the undisciplined and 
thoroughly unreliable soldiery. Like them, Dante 
has great misgi%'ings as to the promise of immunity 
being faithfully kept, and his trembling glances 
I testify to his dread- 

^L E il Duca, mio a me :— ** O tu che »icdt 

^H TrA gli ficheggioin d«l ponte quatto quatto,* 

^H Sicuramcnte omai a me tu nedL" — go 

^H Perch' io mi m^issi, ed » lui venni ratto ; 

^^H E i diavoli ei fecer tutti avanti,t 

^^ft ^ ch* io tcmetti ch' ei tencBser fvatlo.j: 

f * qiuntto quAttc : BorghinJ {SlmiisuiU Divina Commedia^ p. 2^6) 

f -^-r'f-» : ** QuatUf non siKnifica, propnamenJc naseoso, ma 

■:■■> e eomt spin<tto in terra* e come fa la gatla quanda uc 

.c.l-ji. chc si ttiaccia in terra per nan csBCr veduta, c Io fa 

t^vf^a il cane. Prima avea deltc» giu V agguatta : che Io 

espofK bene, Calati ^ii) e ti nascondi," etc, 

t ft ftter . . . n%ianti : Farsi uvunti is a regular Tuscan 
adirnn, meaning "to come, to step, Torward." Compare Purg. 

" V*r me si fecc, ed io v*r hii mi fei," 
I trmtiti ck* ti ttntsstr patto : Dr, Moore {Tixt. Crif, pp, J30, 
^1) find* !h« reading in 86 MSS.» whereas 45 MSS. rvad 
ttmtUi »on Unfsirr. On thi^ he observes : "The reading ch* ei 
liwmii i« undoubledl)' in be preferred here, on The simple 
principk thai il fully accounts for the numerous aUt^rations of 
fSke text) which all seem tn ha^'c aimed at rfmcdytnjE; a mis- 
an ^CTBtftod idiom, i hat idiom is obviously nothing but the 
(mjliftr Latin construction, vireor utiiicat ^ I fear that he wt!l 
mat MV. Compare cave te sentiat, etc. Net doubt 7Vwii che non^ 
or Tom mtm are al&o quit« common in this same sense, both iti 
Duce It.g. Inf. li. 35, 64 : iii, So ; xvii, 76^ etc.) and elsewhere. 
The fact ihat the other construction is lesa usual, possibly 


Readings oh the In/ernt>. Canto xxi. 

£ cDsl vid^ Lo g'\k temer li fanti 

Ch' U3civan patteggiati dt Caprona»* 
Veggendo s^ tra nimici cotartli. 

To m' accostai t con tutU ta persona 


ambiguous, and perhaps more peculiarly Latin than Italian, 
would futly account for its alteration here (but not so for the 
converse change), and also for the conjectural devices of a 
bolder kind, such as the substitution of rompcuer for Unaur. 
Among the Commentators the OUimc atone has che non 
rompesiono ; Benvenuto, Lana, Daniello and Casteh'etro insert 
Hon before Uncs&er" Casini agrees with Dr. Moore, not so 

* Caprorta : The Chiosc Anotmne (Selmi) relates that "C«- 
prona was a castle whose garrison had perpetrated great 
cruelties. They were at last so closely besieged that they 
gurrcndered on promise of their lives being spared ; but when 
afterwards they were marched nut, and found themselves in 
the midst of enemies, nearly all of whom had had to deplore 
the deaths or torture, one of a brother^ another of a father. 
another of a soa, these prisoners began to turn pale and 
tremble with fear. And eventually they wtr* put to death, 
and the compact for sparing them was not observed/* The 
Commentary ol 1343^ which gives a wtong date to the siege, 
represents Dante as having taken part in it when only thirteen 
and a half years of age. Lana also conhtms the account of 
the faith of the capitulation having been broken, and the 
garrison butchered, ButJ gives an elaborate account, in which 
he makes out that all the people of the coqntry-side sur- 
rounded the garrison as they were being marched out, yelling, 
"Appicca, appicca," "hang them, hang them," but that Gmdo 
da Montefeltro, the commander of the besieging force, caused 
the prisoners to be all bound into one long hie, and protected 
until they reached a secluded road, by which there was a 
short cut for them alt to escape to Lucca. But, as Scartazzini 
remarks, Buti was a Pisan, and anxious to give a somewhat 
too favourable report of the Pisan forces, more especially as 
his iL'clureSj in which he relates the incident, were being de* 
livered to Fisan students in Pisa, GelH confirms Buti's 
account, but adds that the pl^tcc where the prisoners were set 
free and put into the road to Lucca, was Asciano. 

tw* ac£o&tai : In Purg. viii. 40-42, iJante uses the same ex- 
pression to describe how he drew close up behind Virgil's back 
on the announcement by Sordello of the near approach of the 
Serpent ;^ 

Canto XXI. Reading& on the Inferno. i6x 

Lungo il mio Duca^* e non torceva g]i occhi 
DaJla sembianica lor ch' era non buona. 

And my Leader to me: "O thou that sit test 
crouching; down low among the rocks of the bridge, 
return now to me in all security." Whereupon I 
arose, and came to him quickly ; and the devils 
all sprang forward, so that I feared th^y would 
not observe the compact. And thus did I once see 
ihc foot-aoldiers, who under treaty were marching 
oui of Caprona, show fear, on seeing themselves 
amid such numbers of the enemy. 1 drew up quite 
close beside my Leader with all my body, and did 
ool turn my eyes from their countenance, which 
was not good. 

Dante is immediately threatened by the whole 
horde of the Demons, who both by gestures and 
words show how well founded were his fears. Mala^ 
coda, however, orders them to desist. 

Ei tbinavan ^li raffi, c, — " Vuoj che 't tocchi,"— loo 
Diceva 1' un con T altro, — " in sul gropponc ? "~ 
E rispondean ;— '* SI, fa che gliele accocchs." — f 

** Ond* io chc non sapeva per qual calLe, 

Mi volsi intomo, c stretto m* accostai 
Tutto gelato ailc fidale spaJlc.** 
• l,Mnf^(t it mio Dtua ; In inf. x, 5?, 53, in the description of 
the u|knsing ot Cavakanie dei Cavakantii in the fiery tomb 
cImc akiogsidc of Parinata dcgli Uberti, the same word iungo 

^AUorsufsc alia acoperchiata 

Un'ombra litnga que&ta infino al mento." 
i fm tki giute atcocchi : Castcivctro observes : ^^ Toccario in su 
il fn^pomt and aC'COWnrglUnt una are expressions us<;d by the 
bnst ciaMCs and in proverb^i The 5rst is comnnonly bHid of 
thOMt whv job their donkeys behind with a stick to make them 
I* U*lrr; the sccortd is a term in arL-hcry, Dante makes 
ihete licinons converse in the most plebeian language, as he 
«ill Alio make them act in plebeian ways, as for instance^ 
1*iniirtm not their tongue in deridoti, and aiU grosser 
II. L 

1 62 

Readings on the Inferno. Canto Sxr 

Ma quel demonto che lenca st-rmone 
Col Duca mio, &i voise lu(to presto 
E dJBse : — " Posa, posa, ScarmiglionG." — * 105 

They were lowering their prongs, and kept sayingi 
one to the other: ** Wilt thou that I touch hira 
up upon the rump ? " And they answered : " Yes, 
try and nick it into him." But that Demon 
(Malacoda)^ who was holding; speech with my 
Leader, turned round with all speed and said: 
" (^uiet, quiet, Scarmigltone." 

It will be noticed that of the Dennons mentioned 
by name, Scarmiglione is the only one whom \fa;la' 
coda does not select to accompany the Poets, Ben- 
venuto remarks that a better nickname for him would 
be Spe^zapaUi, i.f. " a breaker of treaties"; and he 
adds that Malacoda was obliged to check the 
threatened attack upon Dante, as it would have been 
too open a breach of faith if it had taken place in 
his presence; and he preferred that they should first 
get out of sight of him, so that he should not appear 
to be an accomplice of the treacheiy. 

aclioHEk Lord Vernon (/n/frtto) cammenting on this paisa£e, 
says* "fa in itiodo cAtf glide, i.e, gliclo^ cioi V uncino acaxJii, 
arabb], attacchi. AceoccaHa ad utto h locu^ione che vale a^' 
biarglt bine Ut Iwttiif dggiustargli btne la ptnosaa, r<yrtciarh btnt" 
* Pom, posa, SnirmigHoin; .' In this passage Blanc ( \'ac, Dami.i 
interprets posarc a?> "to be quiet, to cease or desist from what 
one 13 doinK"; as in Ptirg. i\ 85, where C'asella bids Dante 
desist from his fruitless attempts to embrace hts unsubslantial 
impsJpablc form : — 

" Soa^emente diaae ch' io posassc" 
In like manner in Purg. xxxi, 76-78, where the Angela leave 
off casting flowers over Beatrice :— 

**■ £ come la mia faccia si distcse, 

Poaarsi quelle prime creature 

Da lorQ aspersion 1' occhio compresc.^ 


C^nto XXI. Readinf^i on the htfemo. 


Division fV. — Malacoda now gives the Poets 
directions as to ihe road they are to follow, and 
causes them to be attended by a guard of ten Kiends, 
whom he professes to be sending that way to see if 
any of the sinners arc out airing themselves above 
the surface of the pitch. In the Unes that follow, 
we Icam several important facts. jFmi, how Mala- 
coda mixed up truth and falsehood the better to 
entrap the Poets. Sccvi{4l)\ at what hour, how long 
a^o, and for what cause, one of the bridges had got 
broken down. Thirdly, we learn in what year Dante 
niadc the journey, and on what day he has this con- 
versation with Che Demons, 

The foilowinK explanation by Blanc {Sagf^io, pp. 
il4-:i 16) brings the passage very clearly before us: 
' Malacoda wishes to mingle truth and falsehood, 
that he may deceive the Poets, and keep them longer 
in his power, so as to do them an injury should the 
occasion present itself. He tells them that the 
Sixth Bridge lies in ruins, which is perfectly true, 
but the Poets might have seen that for themselves 
fitwn where they were standing, at the inner end of 
the Fifth Bridge. To give his words a semblance oi 
Iruth, Malacoda further tells the Poets exactly when 
ibc bridge was broken down, and here again he tells 
ihcm what is true. But now begins the falsehood. 
He assures them that if they will only keep along 
the cliff, they will find, not verj' far onward, another 
bcidgcway by which one can pass. This is a lie, for 
we read in Canto xxiii,* that in the Sixth Bolgia, 

*Scc Ih^. xxiii, 133-144, where Fra CataUnO] one of the 


Readings on the Infirno, Canto Jtxi 

where are the Hypocrites, all the bridges in siiccessioi 
are broken down." 

Foi disije a noi : — "Piii oltre andar per qucsto 

IsLOglio non si pub, perocch^ giace 

Tutto spezaato a fondo 1" arco sesto : 

E se t' andarc avanti pur vi ptacc, 

Andatcvene su per questa ^rotta;* I'*' 

Presso & un altro sco^lio che via face- 

ler, piu oltret cinqu* ore che quest' otta, 
MilJe dugento con sessanta sei J 
Anni compii, che qui la via fu rottA. 

Frali Gaudentj, corrects VirgiTs misapprehension as lo ihei*' 
way, in which he had been misled by MaJacodn : — 
'* Hispose adunque : ' Piu che tu nan aperi 

S' appressa un sasso, che dalla gran trcrchia 
Si move, e varca lutti i vatlon feri, 
Salvo ch* a questo ^ rotto, e nol cnperchia : 
Montar potrcte su per la niina, 
Che giace in casta, e nel fondo voperchta.' 
Lo Duca Btetle un poco a testa china, 
Pol diasi:: 'Mai contava la bisagna 
Colui, che t peccator dli 1^ uncina.' 
E il frate: ' lo udi' gia dire a Bologna 
Del Diavol vizii assai, tra i quali udi' 
Ch' e^ij b bugiardo, e padre di menzogna. '" 
*ge^ttii : Compare Pitrg. i, i|8: — 

"Che dannati, vcnite alle mie grollc." 

In a note on that passage we explained that ^roffii must not 
be taken there in its primary meaning of *' cave, grotto," bul in 
itB secondary meaning of " Luogo dirupato c scosceso (jj a 
precipice)." It was also noticed that the word is commonly 
U^ed in i'u^^cany for the terraces banked up again!>t the sides 
of the hills, on which are grown linesj oranges, figs and other 
crops. With the double meanin;^ of grotta, we may compare 
the Latin vitUuiHy bignifying cither a ditcli ar a rampart, 

t^iii otttc here means " further on," i.e. " later.** U is taken 
in thai sense by nearly all the Old Commentators. I cannot 
agree with Mr. Tozcr, who translates It *' before." 

\MilU duf^atto con seisajttu set: Lana has a very important 
variant here. He reads ^fiilt■ dugento unofuw ^tiutntn mi. Dr. 
Moore {Time Hc/ereticfi, p. 4b et sft/.) says thai this reading 



anto rCT. 


'fading on the Inferno. 


Then he said to us: *'To go further alon^ this 
bridgcway is not possible, because the sixth arch 
hes all broken to pieceti at the bottom (of the 
Solffia): and if it still pleases you to go forward, 
wend your way along this cliff (f.f. the bank be- 
tween the Jake of pitch and the Bolgia of the 
Hypocrites) ; hard by there fs another bridge 
which affords a passage. Yesterday, five hours 
liter than this hour, completed one thousand two 
hundred and sixty-six years since this way was 
broken down. 

This is perhaps the most important reference to 
lime in the whole of the Divina Commedia. I take 
t&y stand upon Blanc {Saggio^ p. 2I4)^ and give his 
Words in cxtenso i " Yesterday (says the Demon) were 
completed 1266 years since the ruin of the bridge. It 
*as the common opinion in those times that as the 
Conception of our Lord took place on the 25th March, 
so also His birth occurred on the 25th December, and 
Hi^ death on the Zy\h March. And it was moreover 
believed that Christ at His death was thirty-three 

occur* in two very important MSS., viz. : the Codke Landtano 

'( VikLctita^ of IJ56, and the most celebrated of the %f SS. of 

the M»rchc3c Trivulzio at Milan, of 1337. and these arc prob- 

»^\y Ihc two oldest dated MSS. in existence ; at least of MSS. 

faoirini; really reliable dates. Dr. Moore, while giving several 

ituonn by which this curious variant Tnay be explained, thinks 

il M clearly npurious, since the clum^iy way in which the re- 

teirvd unit is supplied indicates a manifest afterthnug;ht. 

wavenuto thus alludes to this variant : "' Et hie nota quod 

afi^k lextut magis modemi habent aliam literam sic; MilU 

ImKHfii Mil nif I III, I il ista discordantia accidit propter 

AKOcdantiam opinionum quia, ut jam dtxi, ali<iui volunt quod 
CViri«tu« viiceril triginta tribusannis^ alii quod Iriginta quatuor, 
et de hoc audivi majfnani disputationem ; scd prima opinio ct 
fta prima htcra vidcttir Tncjior. Et ex hoc vide quod intc 
cofDputavit annos a paasioric, qilt« ai computasseC a nativjtate 
: miiJr ircccnti.'* 


Raudifigs (/ti the In/emo. Canto xxi. 

years of age. Therefore, if one adds together the 
1266 years, phts the year from the Conception to the 
Births and from this to the death, i.f, 1266 +1+33. 
we get the result, that Dante represents himself as 
having made his marvellous journey in the year 1 joo, 
which accords with the Hrst line of the Comtmdiat 
wherein he determines as the epoch of his vision the 
thirty-fifth year,, or rather the middle, of his life. He 
was born in 1265, and had therefore in ijoo attained 
half the natural course of human life. Far more 
difficult is it to determine on what day this conversa- 
tion (between Malacoda and the Poets) took place. 
There is no doubt that Malacoda asserts that the 
great landslip occurred on the day before; but what 
day would that be ? Dante without actually saying 
so in predise words, gives us clearly to know that in 
his opinion, the earthquake which took place at the 
instant of Christ's death was the cause of these land- 
slips in HelL Virgil too {Inf. xii) * tells Dante that 
a portion of the cliff which girded the Circle of the 
Violent had made its downfall a httle while before 
that Mighty One f descended into Hell, and levied 
the great spoil from Dis ; an evident allusion to the 

*Jn/. xii, 37-45 :— 

" Ma certo poco prta, se ben discrrno, 

Che venisse Colui che la gran preda 
Lev^ a Dite del cerchio superno, 
Da, tutte part) 1' aJta vallc feda 

Trem6 si, ch' io ptnsai che V univcrso 
Senli!>sc Amor, per Io qua! c chi crcda 
PiCi volte il mondo in Caos converso: 

Ed in quel punlo qut'sta ve^chia raccia 
Qui t'd allrovc tal ftce rivcrao." 
+ Sec In/, iv, 52 t^t se-i/. 

C^nta XXI- Readings on ike Inferno, 


descent of Christ into Hell, and obviously meaning 
that His death was caused by the violence and 
hypocrisy of the Pharisees, for which reason the 
earthquake which accompanied it would be felt in 
Heli just at those two places, namely, in the Circle 
of the Violent, and in the Circle of the Hypocrites. 
If the landslip occurred, as Dante supposes, at the 
time of Christ's death, the 'yesterday' ((VW), of 
which Malacoda speaks, would of necessity be on 
Good Friday, and his conversation with the Poets 
mu&t have taken place on a Saturday. So far all is 
quite clear. But the great difficulty is to know 
whether Dante had in his mind the day of Christ's 
death, namely the 35th of March, on which day it 
was the popular belief that God had created the World, 
or whether he was thinking of the Good Friday of 
1300. Some might incline to the latter presumption 
a» the most natural of all ; but the determination of 
the Full Moon of 1300 does not at all ap;;ree with it." 
blanc then states the dilrRculties resulting from 

Elbe fact that the Full Moon occurred on the 4th 
April 'which seems to be an error for the 5th April), 
But (as Dr. Moore remarks to me), in either case, it 
was not» as Dante more than once implies, on the 
flight of Thursday in Holy Week {i.£. 7th April, in 
1300)- These difficulties seem to result entirely from 
BUnc supposing Dante to be referrinj: to the Full 
Moon a^ determined by astronomical calculations, 
and not by the calendar. By the latter the eccles- 
iaaticat seasons were determined. In 1 joo there was 
a difference of two days between the astronomical 
and ecclesiastical Full Moon. The latter did, in 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto XXI. 

fact, fall on 7th April in 1300, as may be seen in any 
calendar of that period. If the Calendar Moon be 
taken, the difficulties raised by Blanc disappear, and 
there is no reason to say, as he does, *'that the Full 
Moon must be explained as a poetic fiction." No 
one even thought of raising the question as to which 
kind of Moon Dante was referring until more than 
two centuries after his death. It was apparently 
taken for granted that he was referring to the 
Calendar Moon, as an ordinary reader would naturally 
assume. It may be doubted whether information as 
to the real or astronomical Moon would be access- 
ible to Dante himself, much less to most readers. 

Dr. Moore {Time References, pp» 44, 45) thinks that 
in this passage we ought to take five hours before 
12, and not five hours before 3 o'clock. He says : 
" Seeing that Dante in the Convito * distinctly argues* 
both on a prion and on a posteriori grounds, that our 
Lord's death took place at the sixth and not at the 
ninik hour, i.e. at noon and not at 3 P.M., it can 
scarcely be doubted that we are in this passage to 
take hve hours before 12, and not five hours before 
3 — in other words, 7 a.m. and not 10 A.M. It matters, 
therefore, little to note that Dante has erroneously 
cited St. Luke in this particular; the Evangelist's 
statement about the sixth hour referring, not to 
Christ's death, but to His promise to the penitent 
thief. For we may safely employ here, in regard to 
the hour of our Lord's death, the argument of Castel- 

*The passage in Conv. i\\ 23, II. 103-107: "E ci6 ne mani- 
festa 1' fira del giorno della sua morte, chi vollt qucHa con- 
aomifiliare colla vita sua; ondc dice Lucn [xxili, 44], chc crm 
quasi ora sestti quando mori6, che ^ a dtre lo colmo del di" 

iSmo XXt. Readings on the Inferm. 


vetro in reference to the years of His life in this 
passage, t't'-c., that we must adopt the \\qw maintained 
dsewhere by Dante himself (* in questo luogo Dante 
seguita la sua opinione^ non quclla degli altrl '). It 
should be added that the early Commentators, in- 
cluding the Chiose Anonime (edited by Selmi), Lana, 
ihe Otfimo, the Aftommo Fiorentino, Benvenuto, Lan- 
dino, Vellutello, Bargigi, and Danietlo, are absolutely 
unanimous upon this point, vis., that 7 a.m. is the 
hour indicated^ There is not one who even raises a 
dftubt on the point." 

Gelli fully contirms this view, saying that Dante 

tms above the Circle of the Diviners at sunrise on 

ihe morning of Holy Saturday, and the Poets had 

I occupied another hour in conversing as they walked 

laloiig, as %'ell as in their interview with Malacoda, 

Gdli notices too that Malacoda dares not utter the 

ttiBie of Jesus Christ, but uses a circumlocution to 

ittakc Dante understand that he meant to allude to 

iBis death. 

Malacoda now resorts to a sccomi device to entrap 
Poets. He has told them that further on they 
wiil find another bridge, which in reality he knows 
a broken down ; but he knows that they will not be 
able to deviate to the right or left from off the cliff that 
ilurtt the lake of pitch ; and so he pretends that he 
iiscfuiing some ol his Demons to watch the sinners 
in tbc pitch, and that if they avail themselves of the 
cKortf it will be of advantage to them. Castetvetro 
ronarics that under no circumstances would the com- 
of the Demons benefit the Poets, for they could 
*Q one way and did not require guidance, wU\Ve 


Reotiings on the Inferno. Canto xxi. 

as for acquiring any knowledfje of the identily of the 
Barrators in the pitchy the fact of iheir being accom- 
panied by the Fiends would be a distinct disadvantage 
to them, as the sinners would, the instant they 
descried theii' tormentors^ at once dive down out of 
sight ; whereas, had the Poets been alone, the hap- 
less sufferers would, without fear of molestation, have 
come up above the surface of the pitch, and would 
have given Dante the information he sought. Mala- 
coda now summons the chosen ten, and names 
Barbariccia as their dc'curion or corporal. 

Id mando verso \& di questi miei 1 15 

A ri^uardar s' alcun sc ne sciorina : '* 
Gite con lor, ch' ei non sarLinno rei."— t 
— "Tritti avantj, Alichino e CAlcabrina," — 

Comincio cgli a dire,— "e tu, Cagnaz^o, 
E BarbaricLia guidi la decina. 120 

LibicoccD vcgna oLtre, t Draghin^zzo^ 
Ciriatto sannuto, e GrafiiacBnie, 
E Farfarclloj c Rubicante pazxo. 

* sc Me sciorina ; The primary meaning of sciorinari aa given 
in the Gran Diziomtrw is to hang out clotbes in (he air: 
" Spiegart all' aria; e si dice per lo piii de' panni." Hence il 
comes to mean " to upen, or unbutton one'bctothes forcootncss 
during hot weather." The present passage is tlius explained: 
"Sollevarsi per prtrndere rbloro in aria o postura men calda." 
Compare Filtppo Villani, xi, cap. 97; "Quale si bagnava in 
At^no, quale si sciorinava al meriggio, e chi, di&armandosi, in 
altro modo prcndea rinfrcscainentO'." Benvenuto expounds 
the passflj^c thus ; "thai is, if any of the punished ones comes 
out with his body above the pitth to get relief from its suffer' 
ing) as thniigh he would i^ay, 'if any should altempl to coot 
himselt in the slightest degree, for I want them to bni) uncreas- 
ingly inside the pitch.'" 

f ch' ei tjon ^srarirjo id ; Benvenuto^ Tommascg, andScirtM- 
zini interpret this in the sense 1 have adopted, natne(y» that 
the Poets need not fear any attack from the Demons, (icih 
exptaini) it fjuittr did^erently, takini; the passage to uncan r " It 
wiU be none the worse for you to have their c:scort." 

Canto XXL Readin^<i rm the Inferno, 


Cercatc intornn le bogtienti pane ; 

Costor sien saK i, insJno all' altro &chcggtct 1:^5 

Che lutlo intero va sopra Ja lane."—* 
I am sending in that direction {'i.c, towards the 
supiwsed unbroken bridge) some of these my fol- 
lowers to look out if any one is out airing himself 
(».f. above the surface) : ^o ye with ihem, for they 
will not beag^'ressive. Come forward, Alichino and 
Calcabrma," he began to sayj " and thou Cagnazzo, 
and let Barbariccia lead the ten. Let Libicocco 
come besides, and Draghinazzo, Ciriatto with the 
tusks, ^nd Grafliacanc, and Farfarello, and mad 
Rubicante. Explore all round the simmering; 
pitch ; let these be unmolested as far as the other 
bridge which runs unbroken above the dens {i.t, 
the ten Bolge),*' 

Malacoda's apparently courteous assurance of 
safety to the Poets is false. He telk his followers 
that ihey are to be safe as far as the tiexi bridge which 
runs unbroken over the dem. He knows perfectly well 
that the said bridge is broken down like tht other, 
and. therefore, such promise of safety is valueless. 

Castelveiro gives the following list of the ten 
Fiends, with references to the lines in which they 
are mcnlioned in the next Canto: — 

t. BARbikiticciA, the Decurion fxxii, II. 29, 59 and 145). 

2. AttCHlNO 


I. 112). 

3. Calcahkina 


"■ U3). 

4- CA(jfNA<fZO 


I. 106J. 



I- 70). 

^B 6. DvAtintKAXzo . 


1- 7i)- 

^B 7. CiRiATTo uimmtii 


1. 55). 




^" 9. Farfarello 



10> KUBICANTE paito 


I. 40)- 

'^teiW : The word tanu properly signifies the Iflir of a wild 
Here it means, /msd, httlgia. 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto 

Various explanations of these names are given by 
Benvenuto, Buti, the A)wmm/} Fiorentiiw^ Gelli, 
Scartazzini and Rossetti. I reproduce those of 
Gelli, because they are a summary of those of the 
first-named three. He observes : " Hence they say 
that AUchino* signifies one who inclines or bends 
others to this vice of Barratry ; Calcabrina, that cor- 
ruption of the mind which follows after the above 
inclination ; Cagnazzoj one who is like a raging and 
biting dog from his rapacity ; Batbariccia^ that 
astuteness with which one tries to conceal those 
actions that would be blamed, because physiog- 
nomists have always considered that a curly beard 
signifies fraud and malice. Libicocco, they think, 
means burning lust, as also that insatiable cupidity 
in amassing wealth ; Draghinazzo, that venom which 
is found in such men as the Barrators, which not 
only injures themselves^ but infects and poisons 
others also. Ciriatio sannuto is interpreted by the 
Imolese (Benvenuto) as quick of hand to rob (from 
X^^p)i ^^^ of tusk to wound ; and by Buti, as an 
injurer of his neighbours, one who hurts whosoever 
comes to him, like a boar (xofP«^)- Graffiacan^t 
falsity itself, for under the semblance of a dog he has 
the power of scratching! which is the attribute of a 
cat, so that he lacerates all who have to do with him. 
FarfareUo is interpreted by the Imolese as meaning 

* Some derive Alichino from alUccrr " to entice," and to sig- 
nify "the cntiLcr." This is very Florentine. In tike maTiner 
Fruiiarc mcanK "to bustle about, to busy oneself quickly and 
actively with one thing after another. One who does so, 
would at Florence be called, half in joke, half in praise. 



^^^to XXI, Readings on the Inferno. 



°^^ who entraps and bamboozles everybody ; for it 
^^ a custom verj- peculiar to Barrators lo entangle, 
as much as possible with words, whosoever does 
biisiness with them. Rttbicante pazzo, the last, means 
raging and furious." 

Scartaz^ini gives some different interpretations 
that are worthy of notice. He takes AHQhino to be 
derived from ckinar le uH. And in xxii, 112 ei seq., we 
read of Alichino saying that he will be quick to beat 
bis wings above the pitch. CakabriJia, one who 
tramples upon the hoar-frost, which is white, and 
possibly signifies one who tramples upon the party 
of ihe BiattchU?) Libieocco, from Libya, the deserts 
which were thought to be peopled by maltttudes 
Demons. Graffiacanc, one who likes to rend sinners 
with his prongs. Ca«>arethe damned {/«/.vi, 19); and 
Inf. viii, 42. Rubicante, the blood-red one, from ruber. 
Notice the very ingenious and perhaps not im- 
probable suggestion of Rossetli {Comcnto Analitico) 
that these Demons, twelve in all, with Malacoda and 
.-Scarmiglione, are parodies of some of the magistrates 
Florence in a.d. 1300. Rossetti observes that 
there were twelve Demons and there were twelve 
Priori when Cardinal Acquasparta entered Florence; 
there were also twelve Sindaci Ntriy elected first to 
treat with him and the returned Bianchi^ and then 
mnimDned by the Pope to render an account of their 
proceedings. He thinks these names of the Demons 
may very likely be corruptions, alterations, or ana- 
Ipnimmatical contortions of the names of the Priori 
and of the Sttttiaci Nert: one name may recall the 
face of one of them, another may refer to some habit 



Rendiitf^s on thi' Inferuo, Canto \\\. 

or custom of some other of them^ It is quite clear 
that these mar\'ellQLis words are neither Biblical, 
Christian^ or Mythological ; and if the erudite Dante 
had merely wished to baptise Demons Avithout other 
cause, he would have made use of a nomenclature 
taken from Holy Writ, as Milton did : or he would 
never have given such graceful names as Calcahrina 
and Atichino. There may be some corroboration of 
his idea, Uossetti thinks, in Ihe fact that at the time 
of the entrance of the Cardinal into Florence Mumin 
Branca was Podesta ; and from his name people may 
have goX to call the magistrates under his sway 
MaUbrancht. If one remembers that the Gonfahnitre 
di Giustizia, or corporal of the city at that time was 
Jacopo Ricci, one may he able to understand how the 
corporal of the band of ten Demons came to be 
called Barbariccia. If one remembers that one of 
the priori at the same time was one of the Raffacani, 
one may see from whence was bestowed on Hell the 
gift of the Demon Graffiacarte. Rubicante pazzo may 
have been the nick-name of Pazzin' de" Pa^^i, who 
may have been rubicund in the face, with red hair 
Rossetli's ideas as to the others are too long to qiiote 
at length, but his Rijiessioni iul Canto xxi are well 
worthy of perusal.* 

*Dr. Monre {Studies in DanU^ u, pp, 231-23+1 alludca to this. 

and eBjveciaMy on p. aja, where he saya : " I must say I cannot 
tmdf^ine any more likely t'xplanation than that sugfc&ted by 
Kossetti, and if wc find nearly half of these names still at this 
interval of more than five centuries, in spite of their obscurity, 
and in spite of the very various and fanciful devices by which 
such travesties may be effected, lending themselves pretty 
easily to some such explanation, the inference that such ex- 
P'lanation is the true one becomes almost irresi3tib1c>'* 

T^toxxf. Readings cm the Inferno. 


^ante's terror is aroused when he realises in what 
dangerous company the journey is to be resumed, 
and half mad with fear he entreats Virgil to dispense 
with so ruflfian>like an escort. Virgil, however, 
soothes him and restores his courage. 

— '■ me I Maestro, che h quel che io vcggio ? " — 

Diss' io : — "deh ! sen/a scorta andiamci soli, 
Se tu sai ir, cH^ io per me nan la chicj^gio. 

$c tu sei si dccorto cornc sudli, ijo 

Kon vcdi tu ch* ei digrignan 11 dcnti, 
E colle ciglia nc iminaccian duoli ? "— * 

Ed egli a me : — *' Non vo' che tu pavenii : 
Lasciali digrignar pure a lor scnno, 
Ch' ci fanno cid per li Lcssx t dDlenti." — 1 35 

"Aiaa!" I said: "Master, tvhat is this I see? 
I beseech thee^ let us go alone ivithout escort if 
ihou knoweat the way, as for mj'self I ask it not. 
If thou art as observant as thou art wont, dost 
ihou not see how they grind their teeth, and with 
their brows threaten us with mischief? " And he 
to me : " I *ill not have thee fear; let them grind 
away just as they like, for they are doing it at the 
boiled auffeTcrs.** 

The Fiends now turn to Malacoda to receive from 

flKcir real captain the signal of departure. Barba- 

cia was only their dfctmon, their corporal. As 

'turned, they made a grimace with their tongues 

*dtwti: Some underfttand the word in the sense of in^anni, 
tit, treachery," from the Latin Miius. Blanc and Scar* 
%Q tDlcrpTCt it, but I follow Bcnvcnuto and Buti, who 
od it " woe, miachief, harm." Compare the French 
Thu Oran UixMnanot 8. v. Ji i has : *' Dutth, i,m. doiou*" 
And S 8 - " ^*Nf- PC Gwai, \ftiLt vcntuTa^ Dunm*.** 

t U\-ii I /It" ift a. word principallv used in Tuftcanv, whereas 
rr -^ihcr parts i"f Italy the word hnllito is more generally heard. 
in a lui^an btiur^fou dinner "il teiiso" (U fmtiilU) invariably 
feOowi after *' la minestra " {U pot-au-Jcu). 


Re<tding-i on the Inferno. Canto xxr. 

between their teeth, some say with the accompani- 
ment of a loathsome noise in imitation of what was 
to follow. This, says BiagioH, is a common habit of 
the low populace, when they wish to deride any one, 
and do not want their outburst of laughter to be 
heard. Bia^ioli thinks they did this to make a 
private sign to their captain, Malacoda, that they 
had understood the full drift of his equivocal order to 
them that the Poets were to be safe from harm as far 
as the next unbroken bridge. 

The Canto concludes by Matacoda giving them 
their marching signal, in a manner so revolting and 
grotesque, that many have blamed Dante for record- 
ing it, but Benvenuto, followed by Gelti, thinks that 
Dante did so purposely, because he who has no 
respect for justice, but corrupts and sells it brutally, 
wilt let himself down to any act, no matter how vile, 
how abominable^ or how wicked; and moreover, the 
violation of justice in men^ is like unto the violation 
of honour in women ; for having afterwards no 
respect left, either for honour or for anything else, 
they are capable of any act, be it ever so disgusting. 

Per 1' argine sinlstro* volla dicnnn ; 

Ma priifia avea ciascun la Lingua stretta 
Coi denti, verso lor duca per cenno, 

Ed ckU avca del cul Fatto Irombctla. 

Upon the left bank ihev wheeled about ; but first 
each of them had squeezed his tongue with his 
teeth towards their leader (Malacoda) as a signal, 

* Per r argitii^ sitthtro : This merely signifies Ihat when the 
motley party* tonsjsiing of VirsiJ, Danle and the iJcmons, 
reached the far side of the bridge, they took Ihc bank that 
Uy to their left. 

Readings on ike Jnfemo. 

and he (as a counter-signal) had made of his rear 
a trumpet. 

I have followed the Comento di Anonimo (ed. Lord 
Vernon, 1848), Gelli, Cesari, Bta^oli, Lord Vernon 
and Pkilaleth^s in thinking that it was Malacoda 
between whom and the Fiends these loathsome 
signals passed. Out of thirty-nine Commentaries 
that I have examined, I find seventeen doubtful, six- 
teen for Barbariccia and six for Malacoda. My own 
opinion is that Malacoda was their captain* Barba- 
riccia their corporal ; when once started, the Fiends 
would obey Barbariccia's orders, but while still in 
the presence of their captain, they would not be 
thinking much about him who was to be their tem- 
porar>' leader when they were on the march. Besides 
this, their captain, Malacoda, by the deceitful in- 
formation given to the Poets, had just perpetrated an 
act of villainy after their very hearts, and they take 
this mode of showing their appreciation of it. 

I venture to think also that duca {], 138) implies 
the ehief leader, and not one who had a superior 
oflicer present. It seems to agree better with the 
words of Malacoda in I, 115; "/o mando . . , di 
qonti raiei." There might also, in the very word 
matm tod^j, be an implied allusion to that Demon's 
impropriety in 1, 139. 




Readittgs OH the Inferno. Canto XXil 



Gellt defends this Canto from some who a&sert 
that it merely describes grotesque scenes more re- 
pulsive than agreeable, and who say: quandotfue 
boniis dormitat Htmierus, adding that Dante, in like 
manncFp must have been asleep when he wrote it. 
Such an idea is beneath contempt. In a perfect 
whole there must be contrasts ; variety^ not same- 
ness. In music, discords in one place bring out 
beauties by contrast in another, Dante has evi- 
dently wished in the present Canto to follow this 
natural law. 

Benvenuto divides the Canto into four parts. 

In Division I, from vei*. i to ver. 30, Dante describea 
the troop of Demons^ and the position and attitudes 
of the tormented. 

In Division II, from ver. 31 to ver. 63* the Poets 
witness the maltreatment of a Barrator named 

In Division III. from ver. 64 to ver. 90. Ciampolo 
tells them who are his companions in suffering. 

In Division 1\\ from ver. gi to ver, 151, wc read 
how Ciampolo, by a cunning device, escapes from 

Canto XXII. Readings on the Inferno. 179 

the clutches of the Demons, who thereupon turn 
Ihcir fury against each other, 

Divhitm I. — -DantCt by way of linking on this 
Canto to the repulsive incident that closed the last, 
declares himself totally unahle to find a suitable 
comparison for such a marching signal as that given 
by Malacoda in any operations, whether naval or 
railitarj', regular or irregular, whether in peace or in 
war, whether by land or by sea, that have ever come 
under his cognizance. 

(0 vidi gih. cavalier* mover campo, 

E eaminciare stormo,t e far lor mostra, 
E talvolta partir per loro scampo: 

Corridor X vidi per la terra vostra, 

^etvolUf : Bcnvtnuto contends that by this must be undcr- 
1 both hof !W and foot-soldiers {initlHge tarn de pedestribus, 

^ihrmo ; Akin to the German Sturm (a tempest). The word 

i> Kveral sii^nlticattons, about which the Commentators 

ICflct a good deal. Some interpret it "the assault**; some 

f^iquadron^ host, iroop." Toselli thinks it means il su^onare 

^htampana a iforwp, in fact, Ihc French word ioain. ^'■Stormo 

Afoando Alcuna gcntc ^ ad asscdio ad alcuno casteUo over 

wtcjxa^ e propognc di fare suo podere a qucHi dcntro per 

fffcbiarU e vtncrrli. E usasi di darji la baltaglia da pi(^ 
CfMi e^andc romnrc c ij'Cin grand! gridi, per spaurire quclU 
A dcBlro : c anchc questo tumuho sta in sua memoria." 
fLftftaV BenvenuLo says much the same, but says of the 
HMith : *'Qui actuu ctiam habct fieri sub ccrto stgno." I 
faOttw Lombardi, Tomma&<£or Bargigi. Volpi, Br, Bianchi and 
Seaftftxnni, who interpret it a» the first skirmishing at the 
et wmcn cemcnt ai a battle. 

lOirrutcr: '^quclli che fanno corrcrie guastaixdo e depre- 
dlMO pel tcrritorio dc' ncmici/' (Dt Siena). '^ Corruiori. a 
liMii'rfii I (ch'^ r un<* c r ajtra voce si truova nc' nostri antJchi) 
oooo chiairiati crfii 1 quali andavano innan^i a la massa del 
CwpOt pcf ftcoprirc paese c per vedere ae l| camniino era 
HtBrfk, r parte ancor per aaccheggiarc e pfedare," IQcWiY 
11. MS 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxil. 

O Aretini,* e vidi Kir pualdanCit 
Ferir torneamenli, c corrcr giostfa,J; 

" Homines currentea in furore populari." (Bcnvenulo). '^SUndo 
I* oste degli Arettni a. Montevarchi, scorscro certi acorridori 
insieme con gll usciti dt Kirenze insinoa S. Donato in colIinA, 
ardendo e ^uastando case e capanne, e menandone prede e 
pngiotii." (Giov. VillaniT Lib< vii, cap. 127, quoted by Gclli 
from a copy of Villani somewhat differently worded from my 
own copy), 

* O Ar/tini : Dante is supposed here tc be making allusion 
to the incidents that preceded and followed the battle of Cam- 
paldino in 128^, in which Dante, according to tradition, look 
part. But Dr. Paget Toynbee in his DanU Dictionary (s.v. 
Arettni) observes that such incidents as Dante describes in the 
text must have been common enough during the hostilities be- 
tween Florence and Atm^o after the expulsion of the Guelphs 
from the latter city in US7. 

i guitUiane : "Cavalcate Lc quali si fanno alcuna volta in sul 
terreno de' nemici a rubarc et ardcree plgliarprigioni" (Buti). 
Donkin {Eiyjjfoiogiail Dictiimury) denvea guaUana from ihe 
Middle High German word [Voldtin, a storming. Compare 
Matteo Villanr {Cron.)^ Lib. \\, cap. 54 : " Niuna fedc n^ niuna 
p]et& ii in qucgli unmini che seguitano gli cserciti d' artnir cio^ 
a dire in gualttana, a predate e a far male." And Ricordano 
Malespint, htf/ria Fiormtinn, cap. 142: ''E quella [inscgna] 
de* ^uastatori era bianca^ con ribaldi dipinti in gualdana giu- 

J/''i?rt> tornfamenti, t mrtcf giostra : Gelli points out that 
there is a marked distinction between these two warlike txer- 
cise&. In a turneamtnfo an equal number of combatants is 
selected from each side, and being urraycd in an open 6eld« 
they are at liberty, on the signal being given, to attack each 
other in any way they please, as was done in '* the Ducal 
Square [i.i- Piaz::a delta Signoria] " at Florence, aficf that 
Slate had re-conquered Pisa. In the ^ivatra the knights tilted 
at each other with blunted lances in lists across a curtain of 
drapery, and hence the expression that jousts were run, whereas 
Dante says that he has seen lournamenta/owfiif, when woundu 
were freely dealt in the fierce m^Ia. The story of such an 
incident may be read in Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhx (chap, jui), 
in the account of the second day of the lists at Ashby. I «• 
iract from it the following definition of tpriieamfnti : " fn 6ict, 
although the general tournament, in which all knightB fought 
at once, was more dangerous than single encounters, they 
were f sif ], nevertheless^ more frequented and practiacd by the 
chiyaiiy of the age*" 


m!^tX!|, Readittf^s on ike Inferno^ l8l 

Qtiando con trombe, e quando con campane,* 
CtMi tambun c con ccnni di caatclla, 
B con CDse nostrali i e con istrane ; 

N^ gi£k con al diverse | cennamdia ^ lo 

' campoHi : In the time of Dante the Florentinea were in 

the habit of leading oul to battle a car^ painted vermilion, 

drawn by ojicn, and called the Carroccio. Upon this car was 

V*^is a Urge bell called the Marfmdla, which, according to 

titofdano Malespini (cap. i6fi), the Florentines used to ring 

*y and night, in order that they iiiig:ht arrogantly give their 

Ittmics notice of their approach, and time to prepare. 

+ nyj>aii: All about the streets in Florence may be read in 

*5 wine-shop windows: '• Vino nostrak" i.e. "Native wine, 

^ttcofthe country." 

Wiwnit .' This word has many significations. The more 
wmmon interpretation of it is "strange, uncoath," but I take 
* Whcr in the sense which the Vocabolario deila Crwsfd gives 
"ij?, f»^ "horrible* disgusting, unseemly," in which sense 
flltnc (J'«c- DanL) interprets it. Di Sicna rendert* it ittcon- 
NUimle: Compare Inf. vi, 13:- — 

"Ccrbcro, fiera crudclc c divcrsa." 
fiJinc h^ys- it is often dilBcult lo know which meaning to take, 
«for instance, inf. vii, tog :— 

" Entrammo giu per una via diversa." 
^Xompftre also In/, xxxiii, 151-153 :— 
^H ^'Ahi Genovesif uomini diversi 
^^ D' ogni costume, c pien d' ogni magagna, 

Perche non siete voi nel mondo aperai ? *' 
Compare also Vila Nuova, ^ xjtiii, 11. 30-^0: " E pcr6 mi giunse 
■no ml forte smarrimento, ch* 10 chiusi gi) occhi e cominciai a 
trtragttarc come famclica persona, ed imaginare in questo 
nkodo: chc ncl caminctamento delT errarc chc fecc la mia 
&iiUtui, apparvcro a me certi visi di donne scapigliate, chc 
oti diccano; Tu pur morrai. E dopo questc d^mnc^ m' appar- 
tvroccili visi divcr&i ed orribili a vedere, i quail mi dtccano : 
Tn k' morto." 

icfmnMiuUa : Donkin ifitym. Diet,) has: '■^ Ctramtiia^ ctnna- 
■rfia, a shawm ; a corruption of O. Fr. (haicmd ? Mod. !■>. 
ff«, Prov. carantel, Sp. cartimilln, flute ; from caiamui^ a 
I; Low Latin ctlamtt,'* Nearly ail the CijniTnentators un- 

%Ac*nnameiiti to be a wind inslrurnenl. Nannucci (A/tinw- 
ll l^iUraturu, etc., vol, i, p. 519 gtvcs the follirwi 
^from a poem of Djno Compagni called L' httdiigtriza ; 


segno di terra o dj stella.* 

I have seen ere now horsemen striking their camp, 
and commencing the attack, and setting their 
battle-array, and sometimes retreating for their 
safety: I have seen raiders over-running your 
territory, people of Arezzo, and I have seen 
marauding squadrons set off, tournaments fought, 
and jousts run, sometimes with trumpets, and 
sometimes with bells, with drums and with 
signals from castles, and with things native and 
with foreign; but never yet to so unseemly a 
bugle-call did I see horsemen or footmen set out, 
nor ship by any sign of land or of star. 

Benvenuto considers thai the Barrators seen 
the Poets in the last Canto were those who traDicked 
for, or in, offices of State, while those to be described 
now are they who bought and sold the favours o( 
their employers. 

After making the above soliloquy, Dante resumes 
the narrative- 

Noi andavan) con li dieci dimoni : 

Ahi fiera compagnial '^ma nella cKtcsi 
Coi santift ed in taverna coi ghioctoni. > 

" Udivi suon di moUc doUi danze 
In chitarrc, CctribJ smisurati, 
Trombft ^ cennamelle in concordanzc. 
E cembali Alamanni assai triati." 
Giambullari and others r<?ad nmhanclU*. Polctto (Di2HM< 
\DanL) says that the great variety of readings n( ccnnamtita by 
di^ercnt ComrncnCalors while all, except Gelli iwhq under* 
stands It to mean a pair nf cymbals), adopt Huti's interpreta- 
tion that a wind instrument is meant, proves that the word 
used by Uante had had various forms, even from the earliest 
times, and that it must have been obsolete for a lon^ time. 

* itfino lii terra o di itdla : Before the compass came into use 
in Europe, sailors steered either by landmarks or by the siar& 
t nella chusa cat santi, etc, : This is a proverbial expri 


' xxn, J^eadings on the Inferno. 


We were going along with the ten Demons. Ah \ 
fearful company! but (as the proverb says) In fhe. 
ihurch with the saints, and (« the tavern with the 

There is an ancient saying that a man Is known 
fey what company he keeps {noscitur a sociis), but 
Benvcnuto observes that Dante here wishes to repre- 
^Tiiihat a ^ood and wise man may sometimes-^uitc 
I legitimately and honourably, without any stain to 
his s;ood name, find himself In the company of dis- 
tputable persons under perfectly reasonable circum- 
stances, that is, according to the exigencies of time 
irid place; as for example an upright God-fearing 
citric, or a merchant of irreproachable conduct, may 
sometimes have to go on board a ship among pimps 
iTid harlotSt because otherwise he could not transact 
lii& business ; and under such circumstances a virtu- 
I ous man in contact with a vicious one, is as wine 
^L would be when in contact with its lees, or oil with 
^ its sediment : where neither the wine nor the oil ^ets 
comjplcd by these, but on the contrary is benefited, 
for virtue without an adversary gets stale. " I have 
said thus much (says Benvenuto) for what it is 
worth, as I have heard many quote this saying of 
Dante as an excuse for themselves, if they have been 
frequenting different shades of society; so please do 
aol think that Uante asserts that it is becoming to 

^denote that onc^« Actions must be to a certain extent rc^u* 

I in accordance with the place in which one happens to 

CocnpArc i Sam. xxl'u 26, ^7 : "With the merciful thou 

It sbow thyself merciful, and with lh« upright man thou wj|t 
* thy^^\f upright. With (he pure thou wik ^how thyself 

re ; and with the fruward thou u-jK show thyself un&avoury/' 
xviii, ij, 26, hns nearly Ihe same words. 


Rettdin^s on tke Inferno. Canto XXit. 

frequent the company of the gluttonous at the tavem, 
except in case of necessity, as, for instance, on a 
journey, where the company of such people cannot 
well be avoided ; indeed, one may really stand in the 
l^ieatest need of it, should one lose one*s way, or find 
oneself in a dangerous and insecure neighbourhood, 
as was the case with Dante on this occasion." Gelli 
thinks Dante would say that if men find themselves 
compelled by their duty to enter places of vice, they 
should do so with compunction and shame, and then 
quit them as soon as ever their duty allows of their 
doing so ; but while they are there, they should do 
as he says (in the lines that follow) he did» and give 
their whole attention to the business that calls them 

Pure alia pegola era la mia intesa,* 

*inttsit : Compare the early ItaEian poet Terino da Castct- 
fiorentino (fl. 1250) in Nannucci's Manuak delta LttUratura^ 
vol. I, p. 231 :— 

" Che se io compio mia intenza 
Di vo&tro innamorare, 

Aggio di tutta gioia compimento,'* __ 

And from jacopo da Lentino^ contemporary with the above, in 
Nannucci, Man. Ldl. vol. I, p. 114: — 
" Novella Canznn, pfega 

Quella. chc t^enza inlen^a 
Tuttor s' agcnza — di gentll cDstumi, 
Fuor ch' ella d' amar ne^a." 
Inlesa Jn this passage means attensione, but the {iran i)is. 
aaya of itt ''Che prende senso vario dalle voci chc T accom- 
pagnano." Di Siena elcplains the word as inUnstoHf^ iHUnto, 
atU»sione, icopo, sfudh^ afiplicazione ; in Provcn(;:il ^HtettsHf 
fnUnta. He adds that in the early davs of the Italian (anguage 
many words of the Lalrn third declension terminating in o 
wefc changed to the first declension. From contftulere, ojfftn' 
den.intcHdere, vfcrt: derived content io, off ftiio, intcnttft, and thence 
c&mc conUnza a.vd cottteia for (ontentiott^ ; offtnia, o^^n&a, and 
o^esa for offcnxione; and inUma, intenta, and ink$a for tftfifff- 

ito XXIt. Readings on the Inferno. 


• Per vedeT della bolgia o^ni cantcj^nn,* 

E de[]a gente ch' entro v' era incesa. 

Solely to the pitch was my attention {given), to 
notice every particularity of the Bol^ia, and of 
the pcropk that were burning within it- 

"NVe are now shown how the Barrators in two ways 

geek to get relief from their sufferings : like dolphins 
oo the approach of a storm, they dart out above the 
surface of the pitch with upturned backs, and in- 
stantly dive down again ■ and like frogs, they draw 
near the bank to breathe with their nose and mouth 
aVonc exposed, but, for fear of the Fiends^ keeping 
their bodies concealed. 

»Conie L dctfini,t quandg fanno segno 
^tottUgne: BenvenotOt Buti, Blanc and Tnmma«6o explain 
tiin u Ccw cpntenute, what was in the Hoi^iti- But, as 
ScirUuiini points out. one must in that ca!>c take it for granted 
l>y the context, that Dante not only wanted to ace what was 
oonuificd in the Bolgia, but also what was contained iL-ithitt 
™ M*/!^ "''jo arri hunting in it 'e delUf ^^nti ch* eniro i*' em 
■^j, which is absurd ! Volpi, Monti, Bargi^i, Lombardi, 
OiSicna, €«sari, Brunone Biaochi, Scarlazzifii, Camerini and 
iMbeti. explain it to mean the condition, quality, detail, par- 
tiCaUrity, and thia is the meaning I have adopted. We And 
mitgna in the same sense in In/, xvjr, 59, 60:— 
" In una bnma gialla vidi axzurro, 
Che d' un Iconc avea faccia e contegno." 
niCiCtlli ]« uncertain, and says: ^'condizione, quality ; ed 
Mdie ftgni coaa contenuta," 

tde^ni : In NannuccJ, Man. L<tl. vo\. ii, p. 3^0, there is a 

<^ouft detract from Bono Giamboni, Volf^arii^saxtone dil Te&oro 

4$ Sfr Brufuito Latim, book iv, cap. 5, which shows the quaint 

idess of those days about dolphins : " Dal^no i uno grande 

ftwt e molto Icjggiere, che salta di sopra all' acqua : c ^lii 

MBO Btati di quetli, cbc sono »altati di tsopra dalla nave. E 

fofeotien Mguono le navi e le boci degh uomini, c non vanno 

IE aoa moiti insjcmc^ c co^noscono il wA tempo quando dec 

CMerc, e vanno contra alia lortuna [fo mndwufd n/a iU>rm'j the 

4n CMCrc. H quandn j marinari veggiono cio, si s^ antivcg- 

pono dcUa (cirtuna [they /oraee a storm). . . . Ed n hullo attro 

mhn^k de* acqua mvvicnc quello chc & Jui, chc, mci\trc cW tWi 



Readings on the In/crno. Canto 

Ai marinar con 1' arco delta schiena, 
Che s' argomentin * di campar lor legno; 

Talor cosi ad alle^giar ]a pena 

Mastrava akun del pcccatoh il dosso, 
E nascondeva In men che non balena. 

E come all' orlo dell' acqua d' un fosso 
Stanno i ranocchi pur col muso raori,t 
SI che celano i piedi e I' altro grosso ; J 

St stavan d' o^ni parte i peccatori : 

Ma come 5' apprcssava Barbarik:cLa, 
Cos! si rilraean sotto I bollon. 

&ta flotto ]' acqua, non puotc spirare ; e pcr6 spesso vlcne di 

sopra dell* acqua, secnnrio che uomo lo puote vederc quando 
lo trova in marc." Sec also Frezzi, // QHudrirtgia, lib. i* cap. 

"Il lieli delhni 
Givan saltanda sopra I' onde chiarc, 
Che soglion di fortuna esser divini." 
*s*fffjfo"Wi(|H ." Geiliand Tommaseo interpret this si nforzk 
i i" iugrgiiitto ; Biag;tDli says that argomentursi denotes the ctTorl 
and intention of the mind, seconded by the neccssar>' ineanK 
for immediate actions, and therefore in^i^narst very well ex- 
presses the word. Compare in Nannucci, Man. Lttt. vrtj. it, 
p. 424, an extract from the Votgariixamentuddl' ArU dtlla Gutrra 
di Flavio Vegezio, upon the management of a ship during a 
naval action : '^Ondc V antenna si colla. gli taglia, e la nave 
inutile redde, dacch^ pli arj^omervti ondc U nave si reggc, sono 
tagliati." And in a note Nannucci explains at^vtntnU aa 
" istrumcnti, o appresti, apprestamenti ; c urgomentani, ^ nclle 
Storie Pistoiest per apprinttirsi" Following this cxpUnation, 
I translate 5^ argomeatin ''to make ready," which I imagine 
is equivalent to the nautical term " to stand by." Com 
Purg. ti, 3 1-3 J'— 

" Vedi che sdegna gli argomenti umani, 
Si che remn non vuol, n& altro velo 
Che r ali sue, tra liti si lontatii/* 
t i raHi}cchi ftur cot numi/uori : Compare Iti/, xxxii, 31-33 
*• E come a gracidar si sta la rana 

Col muBo (uor dclT act^ua, quando sogna 
Di spigo)ar soventc la villana." 
J li pifdi e r iiltro t Compare /rt/ xix, 23-24 '•~ 
"Fuor dcUa bocca a ctascun sopcrchiava 

I)'' un ptccator li piedi, c dclle gambc 
infino al groaso," 

CaJito XXII. Readings on the Infenio. 



Like the dolphins, when by the arching of their 
backs they make signal to mariners to make read)' 
to save their ships ; so now and then to alleviate 
the torment, would one of the sinners show his 
back, and hide it ajt^ain in less time than It lif;htens. 
And as at the edge of the water of a moat the 
fro^s lie wtlh only their noses out, so that they 
conceal their feet and the rest of their bulk ; so on 
either side lay the sinners ; but as soon as Barba- 

riccia drew near (with his band)^ so soon did they 

retire beneath the boiling depths. 

DinWott II. — Dante now has an opportunity of 
witnessing the maltreatment of one of the Barrators 
by llie Fiends. Cesari remarks that when the 
smners dived down at the approach of their tor- 
mcTilors, one of them took it a little too easy, and 
left his head above the surface of the pitch just an 
instant too long. It cost him dear, for quicker than 
thought, he was deftly hooked by the nearest Demon, 
who dragged him into the clutches of hJs ferocious 

Tn vidit cd anco il cor me n' accapHccia,* 
Uno aspcttar {josi^ com' egli incontra 
Che una rana rimane,t cd altra spiccia.! 

^tttaf^fudik : The Gran Disiottario suggests the possible 
rivuioo ffom capo ritcio, " pcrchi ne' moviinenti d^ orrore 
le^elh »' arhcciano." 
•■in fana rimoAf, et seq. : Compare Ovid, Matam. vi, 370- jSi, 
JittflcKriptMn oi the Lycian boors turned into frogs: — 
'* . . . juvat lasc aub undas ; 

Et modo tota cava submerKcre membra paludc : 

None profrrre caput : summo modo RUFKile nare; 

StCp'F Rupcr ripam sta^ni considers : sacpe 

In i^rltdus re&ilirc lacus . . . 

Voi quCKfuc jam rauca est ; inflataque calla tumescunt ; 

Ipnaqtic dilatant patuloa convjcia rictuth 

Ter^a caput tangunt ; colla inicrcepta \idcntur; 

Spina vircl ; venter, pan maxima corporis, albet ; 

Umosoquc nova« sahunl m gurgite ranae." 
tifitcta : There arc two meanings ^ven of spUeiart. Httt 


Readings on the In/erno. Canto xxil 


E Grafiiacan, chc gli era piu d' incontr«L, 

Gli arronciglift le impegolale chiomc, 35 

E trassci su, chc mi parve una lontra.* 

1 saw, and even now does my heart shudder 
thereat, one linger thus, as it will happen that 
one frog rernains, and another jumps in. And 
Graffiacane, who was nearest over against him, 
hooked him by his pitch-entanji;Ied locks, and 
hauled him up, bo thai to me he seemed an otter 

Dante next describes the savage exultation of the 
Fiends over their captured victim, and how they 
discuss the most cruel way of tormenting him. 
Dante explains, however, that by paying close 
attention both to the names and the faces of the 
Demons when they were told off by Malacoda, he 
was now able to identify each one of them. Ben- 
venuto contemptuously' dismisses the absurd exposi- 
tion of some Commentators that Danie had got uil^ 
their names by a sort of memoria Uchnica^ for tM^f 
points out that to a man of such a mai^vellous natural 
memory as Dante, there could be no possible need^ 
of any artificial assistance. ^| 

it has the aen&c of escaping by a leap or spring. Its primary 
meaning is that of a liquid which issues forcibly from 11 narrow 
opening. In Purg, ix, los, it is used to denote bJood gushing 
from a vein : — 

"Came sangue chc fuor di vena spictia." 
And in Inf. xiv, 76-78, of a stream flowing out of the Forest 

" T^cendo divetiitnma 1^ ove spiccta 

Fuor della selva un picciol liumicetlof 
Lo cui rossore ancor mi racicapriccia." 
*hntra : Dant« likens the hapless Barrator to an otter,, both 
from the writhing of hts, limbs^ and from the dark colour that 
the bailing pitch had imparted lo his body- From the graphic 
description of the way the sinner was caught, one might almost 
imagine that Dante had been at an otler hunt, and seen the 
Otter writhing oi^ the spear. 

rest <^M 

Can to XXII. Readings on the Inferno, 


[o sapea ^ik di tutti e quanti i] ni^me, 
St gli notai quando furojio eletti, 
E pei che si chiamaro, attesi come. 
^"O RublcantCj fa chc lu gli metti 40 

Gli unghioni addosso st che tu lo aciini," — '*' 
Gridavan tutti insictrie i maledettL 

X already knew iKe narnes of every one of them, 
so well had I marked them^ when they were 
selected, and afterwards when they called each 
oiher, I listened how. "O Rubicante/' the ac- 
cursed ones alt yelled together, *' see that thou 

pUnt thy talons into his back so that thou flay 


"Having told his readers that he had ascertained 
the nsFDes of the Demons, Dante next relates how at 
hw request Virgil induced their unhappy victim to 
roTal his name and antecedents. 

Ed 10 :— " Matstro mio, fa, se tu puoi, 
Che tu aappi chi h ]o sciagurato 
Vcnuto a man degH avversari sunL" — 

Lo Duca inia gh &' accasti^ allato, 

Domandollo tind^ ct fosiic, e quei risposc : 

^'' lo fui del regno di Navarra nato. 

Mia madre a servo d' iin Bignor mt pose, 
Ch^ m' avea generato d' un ribaldo t 
Dtstrug^itor di ih t di sue cose 



^ ^titkt tu Ut uinti : Compare Inf, vi, 16-1S, wher« it is said of 

**Gii Dcchi ha venmigli, la barba unta ed atra, 

E it ventre larRO, c unghiale le mani ; 
Qr»fBa \f,V\ spirt i, scuoia [Wittc'a reading] cd 
! tfflatfu So many different nrtedninga are given to this 
1 by Commentators, that it is not easy to decide upon the 
ficAtiof) that Dante inlcndcd to give it, but I think it on 
: whole better to adopt the interpretation of Butij which was 
also that of my late friend Sir James Lacaita^ namely '* worth* 


Readings on the Inprno. Canto xxn. 

Poi fui famiglio del buon re Tebaldo;* 
Quiv) mi mtsi a far barattcriR, 
Dt che 10 rendo ragionc in queslo caldo." — 

less wretch," and which is also adopted by HIanc, Gclli, Serra- 
vallc, and Casinj, Buti is the only one of the old Commenia- 
tors who explains it. He says : *' Ribaidty i^ntQ * a dire, quanto 
rio fmldo^ dot, ardito rio uomo, e nor si dee intendcre pero che 
[Ciampolo] fosse nato, se non legittimamcnte; pcr6 che dcllc 
};randi donnc alcune volte si maritano aitristi uomini." Scar* 
ta;!ziiii is positive that it means an executioner, and gives a 
quotation in which ribuldo is spoken of as the executioner who 
puts a criminal to death from duty and not out vf hatred. 
Tammaseo thinks it means one addicted to women ; Perticari 
and Stracchi say that rttmUo is property speaking, ** a guard 
of ihe king's person," which in Arabic wa^ called as.su3sin,tt\ml 
ts, *' a defender" (c/iir in arabo si disit asmssino, cioe^ difensdre); 
in the same way that amon^^the ancient Latin writers hftrona^ 
now ladront^f was the name used for those who stood u Uitert 
regis. By the chances of words, many that in our time are 
used to express infamy and opprobrium, among the ancient* 
were wisd a.^ terms of honour Tirannot masnada, drudv^ •v/'' 
plizioj etc., show the truth of this. According to Muratori 
niilitary jvpies were called ribaldL The folEowin^pa^saKc from 
G. Villani <xi, cap, 140; attests this: '* E certo si diise . . . 
che solo i ribaldi e i ragajt^i del]' oate nostra avrcbbono vinto 
coHe pietre il battifolle e "I pon(e." Therefore some inlier thai 
the father of Ciampolu was not "a worthless wretch," but a 
soldier who destroyed himself after wasting his property. 
Villani (in xii, cap 20} evidently means by ribaliii what in our 
modern parlance we should call roughs : " In queato bollnrc di 
citl^, si levn uno foUe emattocavaliere popolano . , . raunan- 
do ribaldi e scardassierj [i£'Cpl-com{>^rs] e simile gente volontc- 
rosi di rubare," etc. But in Boccaccio, Dfcam. Giorn, ii. Nov. 
6, rihttlih is used, ti> denote a person of low birth, as. the foot- 
note says: '^ Ribitldo qui non significa sceiUrato (chc aXtrimenXi 
biasimevolc risposta avrcbbe data la donna.^ ma dl IfdSi^ wn- 
dlzioiu ; giacchi& si contrappone a gentU uomo." I find the 
following; in Donkin, Ety}nal. Dkt. : ^' Eibaido It.Sp. Pg. ; Prov. 
rilmut ; Ft. rihnud : ling, ribald; hence N. ribbaUdi ; Middle 
Hi^h German ribbait ; It. (corr.i rubiUdti. Low Latin ribaidia 
cf. Matthew Paris: /ur^j, exuUs, J»gitivi^ txcommunicatx, qitos 
ftmnes ribaidits Fruncia vulgnriler constteiit appdlart = Greek 
rruKflvpytit. The word ribaldi was also specially applied to the 
' cnr,ins perdus' the * black gunrd * ■ fan army, hence It. rtthitl4s 
\\ sort of headpiece worn by such, Fr. ribtMudequin, a missjje,*' 
*re Tfbaido : Thih^uM II, Kingof Navarre, son afThibauIt I» 

Canto XXII. Readings on the In/erni>. igi 

And I : "O my Master, contrive to learn» if thou 
canst, who is that ill-fated being that is fallen into 
the hands of his adversaries." My Leader drew 
near to his side« asked him whence he was, and 
he answered : " Jn the Kingdom of Navarre was 1 
born. My mother placed me in the service of a 
lord, for she had borne me to a worthless wretch, 
th« destroyer both of himself and of his posses- 
ttonS- After that, 1 was a domestic of the ^ood 
King Thtbau!t ; there I set myself to practise Hat- 
ralrj', for which I pay heavy reckoning in this 

Besivenuto remarks that Dante receives from the 
differing wretch the fullest information about his 
wiuin. his parents, his occupation and the crime for 
which he is in Hell ; but that to fill up any gap in 
Ihemamfe&tation of this strange matter, Benvenuto 
*ilUcll his readers that he thinks Dante must have 
hcird the stor)' when he had gone to study at Paris 
liicr his shameful exile from Florence* and as he had 
probably heard there the unutterable frauds and 
wickedness of this devil [^ic], he determined to per- 
petuate the ill-report of him. He seems to have 
been a Spaniard, bom 1270, in the Kingdom of 
Navirre,' his mother being of noble birth, and his 

«*S Utrguertte de Bourbon. Succeeded his father in 1251. 

Hi mtrned '1258 laabclle one of the dsughtrrs of [xjuia TX 

f f^rancc. He accninpaniedl that monarch on hifi disastrous 

ditinn again&t Tunis in 1270, and died that ^ame year at 

Sicily on his way home. Renvcnulo says ol him : 

ebaldus ultra rc^cn Navarriae fuit vJr Kingulariia 

I ct dementi ae." Dr. Paget Toynbcc ■ Datite Dictiflnary, 

tU^f. quotes several passages in which Thibault is cctm- 

I b>* the cooteroporary Burgundian poet ku^tebucf. 

'Spain contains five kingdoms, namelv, the Kingdoms of 

Aragnn. Navari^e, Portugal and Granada, which last 

del, bcTtig held by the Saracens." (Benvenuto). 


Readings on the tnferno. Canto xxit. 

father of vile extraction* The latter having dissipated 
all his property, as Benvenuto had heard, evt^ntually 
hung himself, so that he would be, at the time that 
Dante wrote, ^rowinf^r as a tree among the Suicides 
{iia quod deh^t c^se arborijicaius tn drculo vioUniorttm 
contra se). The son was named Ciampolus^ Ciampoto. 
or Gian Paolo,t and was placed by his mother in the 
service of a great magnate (probably a grandee of 
Spain), where he conducted himself with so much 
shrewdness, that in a short time he became a 
favourite with his lord ; and thus, assisted by his 
growing fame and the good-will of his master, he 
obtained a post at the Court of King ThibauU, who 
exceeded all other Kinfjs of Navarre in justice and 
clemency ; and here again, by his native wit, he 
acquired the good graces and favour of this King, 
who. becoming greatly attached to him» entrusted to 
him the regulation of the whole Court, so that he 
had the conferring of dignities and offices in his 
hands, and administered al! the affairs of the State. 
Then did he set about by fraudulent trafficking and 
peculation, to accumulate wealth ; nor would the 
King ever give any credit to the numerous com* 
plaints against him. Benvenuto deplores the fre- 
quency of such occurrences, and recalls one that 
came under his own observation at Bolognat where 

*One might infer from this that Benvcnuto's interpretation 
ol ribaUia is "a man of low birth." 

fCiainpoh; PhihiUthts remarks that if tradition bad not 
given him this name, he would have supposed that the person 
alluded to w:is more probably the Seneschal Godclroi de Bcau- 
ni(^nt, to whom King ThibaLilt, in his absence, ttid entrust the 
government of the kingdom of Navarre. 

Canto XXIL Readings on the Inferno, 193 

the Legate of Pope Urban V, the Lord of Cluny, 

who was a noble» good and prudent man, had as his 
vicar one Bartolommeo Ruino, a most vile Barrator; 
and although this vicar was abhorred by everybody 
for his vices, yet never would his master believe any- 
thing against him, and when at last he did dismiss 
him, it was with the greatest reluctance and indig- 
nation. How much more praiseworthy and wise 
(thinks Benvenuto) was Cambyses, who caused to be 
flayed alive a certain judge, that for money had 
given an unjust sentence, and whose skin was, by 
the King's order, made into a covering of the seat of 
judgment. Such a death did Ciampoto deserve, He 
had skinned many by his peculations in his life-lime, 
and now he gets half flayed by the Demons. His 
taic, which has been thus amplified by Benvenuto, 
seems to have at once whetted their thirst for blood. 
The scene that follows is a hideous confusion of 
attacks upon Ciampolo by the Fiends, and a grudg- 
ingiy yielded protection by their Decurion, mixed up 
with fragments of conversation between Virgil and 
Ciampolo about the other sinners that are his com- 
panions in suffering. The terror and agony of the 
poor wretch are painful to read. 

IB Ciriatto, a cui di bocca usc'ik 55 

ly ogni parte una sanna come a porco, 
Git fe' sentir come V una sdrucia,* 

^tdrucia : Donkin (Btym^ Diet. a,\\ cucin) says that the 
Italian verb iJrucire sdrnsdrc, to unscw, is from rc^utrt with 
^vahvc I and euphonic »/, sdndrc^ then, on analog)' of cuuirc, 
fifytinrt. The mtaning ja "to unsew, to rip up the seams,** 
^•ttct "to Tip up," ■» would be done by the tusks of a. wild 
botr. The word is aUo used to express the splitting up, tbc 

'Opening, of the Kama of a ship. 


Readings on the In/emc. Canto 

Tra male gatlc era venuto il sorco ;* 

Ma Barbariccia il chiuse con le braccia. 
E disse : — " State in Ji, mentr' iolo inforco." t— 60 
Ed al Maestro mio volse la facda : 
— "Domanda," — dissc, — "ancor ac piu dcsii 
Saper da lui, prima ch* altri il disfaccia." — 

And Ciriatto, from whose mouth there protruded 
on either side a tusk like a boar's, made him feel 
how one of them rips. The mouse had fallen 
amongst evil cats, but Barbariccia locked him vo 
his arms, and said: "Stand aside there, while I 
clutch him tight." And to my Master he turned 
his face and said : *' Ask on, if thou desirest to lean) 
more from him before the others rend him piece- 

Benvenuto says this is a true picture of Barrators. 
They are so apt at extorting for themselves any por- 
tion that they can get out of anybody or anything, 
that every one of them wants his special share of 

* sorco: Nannucci(T^^>'iVfl tf^i Nomi., p. 107) upon this pas&age 
says that many Commentators contend that Danic substituted 
sorco for sonio for the sake of the rhyme. He a&ks his readers 
lo examine the truth of this. From the Latin accusative 
soricem, or from Ihe ablative sorter, was derived the Italian 
soricc. From this came sorcc^ and from zorcz sorcu ; in the 
same way that from ciok-t comes d&ko. Nannucci thinks the i 
must have been inserted into sorco for softness of language, 
and it i& quite clear that sorctf was a natural word, and not 
used for the sake of the rhyme. The plural of sorco is sarcki, 
which is found in the J?*»»« of Burchiello (fl. 1480):^- 
" Perch^ dormir non posso per li sorchi, 
Che fanno maggior gridi, che i porchelli." 

fto inforco: This means, "while f hold him tight with ray 
arms open, clutching him like a fork,'* and not, as some con- 
tend, "while I cnfork bim^ stick my pronged fork into him." 
Barbariccia, we read in 1. 59, lo chiuse con, te braccia^ and II, 6i-6j[ 
show that he did so for the purpose of giving Ciampolo a 
momentary respite until Virgil had had lime to question him ; 
and when (1. 70) he Is again attacked with the hook, il is by 
Libicocco and not by Barbariccia. 


Canto XXI!, Readings oh the Inferno. 



remuneration. " Oh," exclaims Benvenuto, " how 
often have I seen similar instances of Ihis. The 
chamberlain wants his perquisite, the chancellor his, 
even the very doorkeeper wants his, so that the un- 
happy victim can never get away until he is so 
plumed that he has not a feather left upon him ; 
but I certainly must say that this one (Ciampolo) 
pleases me, although he had been a consummate 
rascal, for we shall see him eventually cheat all 
those who had despoiled him, and sow discord 
among them." 

Division IIL— In the intervals of his torments, 
Ciampolo answers Virgil's questions as to the other 
sinners immersed near him. Virgil hrsl asks him if 
there are any Italians among them. 

LrO Duca I — " Dunquc or di' degli altri rii : 
Conosci tu alcun che &ia Latino* 
Sotto la pece ? " — E qucgli : — " lo mi partii 


*LstiH&: Dante uses this expression generally, both in hia 

Cemt* and in his prose works to signify an Italian, an in- 
bil«nt of Italy. Compare Ctmv. Iv, 2ft, 11. 60-62: " n£ il 
I oobilisBimo nostro Latino Guido Montcrekrano." It is some- 
what rcmarliabic that in /«/. kkviI, 33, Dante uses the same 
cxpfCMion about the same person, Count Guido da Montcfeltro, 
Mhcrc the latter, from the flame in which he is tormented, 
erica up to Virgil that he haa just heard him speaking in the 
X^ombard, or North ItaJian dialect. VirgiJ signs to Dante to 
answer Guide* saying :— 

"... Paria tu^ quest) i Latino.'* 
Compare also Inf. max, 88, S^ :— 

** Dinne a* alcun Latino h tra coatoro 
Cbc son quinc' cntro." 
Afld f^^K' n"t 9>. 92 '-— 

" bitemi — che mi fia graxiaso e caro~ 

S* aniina h qui tra vol chc aia latina." 


Readings on the Inferno, Canto KXtU 

Poco ^ da un chc fu di \k vicino ; 

Cost foss' ID ancor con lui coperto, 

Ch' io non temerei unghia n& uncino."— 

My Guide (said) : "Then pnthee tell us about ihe 
other guilty ones: knowest thou any one beneath 
the pitch who is Italian {lit. Latin)?" And he: 
" I parted not long since from one who was a neigh- 
bour to those parts [i.e. who hved in Sardinia) ; 
would that I were again with him under cover {of 
the pitch), so that I need not fear claw nor hook." 

At this point another interruption occurs. The 
first time Ciampolo had been ripped up by Ciriatto's 
tusks ; this time he is made to feel one of the hooks ; 
and indeed he would have felt two of them, had 
not Barbariccia interposed (for what reason is not 
shown), and made the Fiends desist for the moment, 
Benvenuto remarks upon the way Barbariccia is 
obeyedt and says that even among companies of 
wicked persons, there must needs be some sort of 
order and reverence for superior officers, as is to be 
seen every day in campaigns, in societies, and in 

E LibicoccD :— ■* Troppo avem sofFerto," — * 70 

Disse, c presegli il braccio col ronctgUo, 
5i chc, stracciando, ne portd un lacerto»t 

*$6fftrte: The word beara both the tcnu. ab here, of *'io 

endure, to be patient, to bear." and also of "to permit," as in 
/«/. xvi, ,^6-48: — 

**5' io fussi stato del foco coperta, 
Gittato mi sarei tra lor dtsotto, 
E credo chc il Dottor 1* avria sofferto." 
i lacerto .' " Laterto non 6 vocabolq specialc ; ma genericD, 
proprissima i\ci caso no^tro, come quello che nascc [iHosmutk 
ai it is derived] di] vcrbo t^iccrare : c vale puramcntc qualche 
brano staccato da un tutto^ referibiic di prefcrctijca a. parti 
molU e carnosc." (Scartazzini). 

Canto XXII. Readings on the Infernd. 



nraghina7,zo anco i vdWc dar di piglto 

Giuso allc gambe; onde \\ dtcuTio loro 
Si voisc intorno intorno con mal piglia.* 75 

And Libicocco (said): "We have borne too 
much/' and with hia hook he seized on his arm 
in such wise that he carried away a sinew. Draghi- 
na^zo also woutd have luid hold on his legs below ; 
upon which their decurion turned round and round 
with a threatening glance. 

Bcnvenuto thinks there was a certain amount of 
foresight in Draghinazzo's wish to attack the legs of 
Ciampolo, for, as the result shows^ he was very swift 
and ninnbte. 

Notwithstanding Ctampolo's suffering and fear, 
Virgil induces him to resume his interrupted narra- 
tive respecting the Italian Barrator whom he said he 
had left shortly before beneath the pitch. Ciampolo 
tetls him it is a Sardinian, Fra Gomita, and with 
bitn another Sardinian, Michel /anche» both unjust 
judges in that island. 

*mai pi^lio I Contrast this with dar iti pi^Iii> rl, 73). The 
two words arc made to rhyme, because Dante treats them as 
distinct and separate word^. He never makes a word rhyme 
to itself, cxccptinR in Purg. KJi^ &5, 67, hg, where the word nm- 
Huntia IS three times repealed in irontca] emphasis; viiii in 
Par. xxXf 95, qj, 99; and Cristo in four separate passages of 
the Parmitsfi 'AIL, 71, 73, 75; xlv, 104, 106, 108; x'tx, 104, 106, 
io8; tiiini, Hj. M5, 87). The Gran Dizionario gives two separate 
wofds, namely, " Piglii\ il pigliarc (the act of seizings," and 
" Pigiio, aspeltOt un ccrto modo di guardare/' which some dc' 
rive from felc, meaning the hair oi the eyebrow. It is used 
both in a bad strnst^ as in the present passage; and in a good 
ken»c, as in In/, xxjv, ig-21 : — 

"Che come noi vt^nlmmo al guasto pontc, 

Lo Duca a me si voisc con quel pigllo 
Dolce, ch' io vidi prima a pi^ del montc" 
Compare also Purg. iii, 64, 65 : — 

" Guard6 a lore, e con libero piglio Iwith ihftr/vi mien] 


Readings on ihc Inferno, Canto KXlt. 

Quand' elli un pnco rappaciatj forn* 
A lui che ancor rnirava sua Terita. 
Domftndo il Duca mio senza dtmoro : 
-" Chi fu caluL, da cui mala partita 

Di' chc faccsti per venire a proda ? "— 
Ed ei rispose : — ■' Fu frate Gomita t 

Quel di Gallufa,] vase! d' ogni froda, 

Ch' ebbe i nimici dt suo donno in mano, 
E fe' al lor, che ciascun se ne loda ; 



*foro : On thtfl Nannucci (Analisi Critica dii V^rhi, p, 455^ 

g 13) says : '* Forvno, forno, foroti, furo. Dalla terza sing, /u 
con la giutita di raitu, o fo. s] ha La tcrxa plurale furono, per 
%\nco^^fiirno,fHrQn,fHro. Coai da /o per la medcsima regola 
vien/(^^0M(3', per siwco^c fornoyforort^ foro** 
Compare bif. iii, 39:^ — 

" N6 fur feddi a Dio, ma per se foro." 
And Arioslo, Orl. Fur. \x, st. iS: — 

"^ DaUc lor donne i giovent frasai fora, 

Ciaecun per sc, di rimaner pregati." 
And Tasso, Ger, Liber, xv, st. 6j : — 

" L' arme chc sin a qui d* uopo vf foro, 
Potete QTiiai depor securamente." 
And ibid, i, St. 37: — 

"■ Nell* Isola di Francia eletti f6ro, 
Fra quatlro fiumi ampio pacae c bello." 
f/rtit€ Comitii t A nativs of the Island of Sardinia, but it is 
not known to what Order of Friars he belonged, We learn 
from the Chiosi Aiwm»H (ed. Sclmi) from Lana, and from 
Vrliutcllo, that he was in the employment of Ninode' Visconti 
of Pisa, Lord Justiciary of the Judicature of Gallura in Sar- 
dinia, where he was invested with hi^h authority. Now 
although h\^ malpractice:^, his peculations, and his corrupt 
mode of governing, were du)y reported and attested Id Nino, 
yet the Utter had formed so strong an impression of his recti' 
tude for many years past, that he never would lisltn to any 
accusations a|;ainat him, believing they were all made out of 
envvt until at last he discovered that Fra Gomita had been 
bribed to release certain prisoners who had been committed 
to bis charge, ani who were great enemies of Nino. Con- 
vinced at last of his Ircachcry. Kino had Fra Gomita hanged, 
some say by the loot. 

XGatlura: Alter the Kef^ublte of Pisa had conquered the 
Island of Sardinia from the Saracens in 1117, they partitioned 

Canto xxii. Readings on ike Inferno. 


Denar si tolse, c lascioILi di piano^* 85 

Si com' ei dice: e negli altri offizi anche 
Barattier fu non picciol, ma soprano. f 

it into the four Judicatures of (i) Logodoro or dcMe Torri ; 
(a) Calari, Calurt, or Cagljari ; (3) Gallura; and (4) Alborea. 
Nino Visconti of Gallura is encountered by Dante in Purgatory 
in the Happy Valley of the Illustrious Princes (Purg. vJi, 46- 
£4., where Dantc*s interview with Nino is related in great 
detail Mark especially II. 52-55 : — 

*' Vir me si fcce, ed io v&t lui mi fei : 

Giudicc Nin gentil, quanto mi piacqae, 

Quando ti vidi non csser tra i rei I 
Nullo bcl salutar tra noi si tacque/' etc. 
In U- 79-*li of the same Canto he is represented speaking with 
much annoyance of his widow's re-marriage with one of the 
Viscanti of Milan, whose crest was a viper^ while his own was 
a cock: — 

** Kon ]c farii s! bella aepoHura 

La vipera ch' it Milaneu accampa [ij. disjiiays 
on his shield], 

Cam' avria fatto il gallo di Gallura." 
*di piano: Not "Bccrctly^ privily," as some have rendered 
it ; but '* freely, without hindrance (libiramcnte, itnsa eimlrusio)." 
Sec Dr. Moore^s admirable essay Danti's Attitude towards Sins 
itt Studies in Danti, second series, where, after saying that 
Dante undertakes to present to ua with an unflinching realism 
the well-merited punishment of the worst types both of sins 
and sinners, he adds that we cannot expect a high level of 
refinement in all the details . , , and that if the sin avenged 
be exceptionally flagrant, odious or contemptible, Dante's feel- 
ing of satisfaction becomes an entirely pitiless exultation over 
the Callcn victim, which vents itself in vffpis or insult — studied 
(AMiit — or mockery. See pp. 225-227, where the learned author 
obacrvea: '' Another feature or medium of this v(ifiis la found 
in coarse, comic and even slang eKpressiona and downright 
* vulgarism a,' which to our ideas are often sorely inconsistent 
with the conventional dignity of poetry, . . ." In Inf. xxiit 
S3 flauwlli di piano), it seems most probable that di piano is a 
Tul^sr SBrdmian provincialism put into the mouth of the Sar- 
dinian ' frate Oomlta,' and it is something like ' ghh * or 
'slick,' and in that caiS.c Si come ei dice is conlemptuouj^ly and 
apologetically added in the sense of 'to use his own phrase,* 
u. * in hitt own vulgar slang/" 

t«*« piccii)l, ma soprano: Compare Inf. xvii, 73, and sec 
lootnotc on that passage. 


Headings on the In/cttuh Canto xxil. 

Usa con esso donno Michel 2'anche* 

Di Lngodoro: ed a dir di Sardigna 
Le lingue ]nr non si sentono stanche. 

When they were somewhat appeased, my Leader 
without delay asked him who was still (niefull}') 
contemplatinf? his wound : '' Who was he, from 
whom thou sayest thou didst make an ill parting 
to come to the shore ? " And he answered : *' It 
was Friar Gomita, he of Galiura, vessel of all 
guile, who had in his power the enemies of his 
lord (Nino de" Visconti), and so dealt with them 
that every one of them commends him for it : 
Money he took, and let them slip off, as he says: 
and in his other oflicea besides he was not 9 
small, but a sovereign Barrator. In his company 
is Michel Zatiche, the Lord Justiciary of Logo- 
dorO| and in speaking of Sardinia their tongues 
never feel weary. 

Benvenuto remarks that what Ciampolo has stated 
about Fra Gomita and Michel Zanche may be briefly 
summed up thus : ** We are three well-assorted com- 
rades, who were in our life-time three consummate 

"^ Michel Zanche: This personage was the Justiciafy of tlic 
Judicature of Logodoro, or Luogo d' Oro, in Sardinia. He 
was killed in 1275- He was Seneschal of King Enzo, who was 
a natural son of Frederick IL Enzo, by right of his wife, 
Addftsia, Marchioness of Maasa, owned this Judicature of 
Logodoro. On the death of Enzo, Michel Zanche contrived 
to mafrj' his widow and thus became himself Lord of Logo- 
doro. See Lana's account of him. In Jttf. xxxiji, 142-147, wc 
read how h^e was murdered by his son-in-law, Branca 6* Oria, 
whoiie soul was instantaneously hurled down into Hell, as 
retribution for his hideous treachery to kindred, his body l>eihg 
meanwhile inhabited by a Fiend : — 

" * Nel fosbo su,' diss* ei, ' di MaEebranchc^ 
L^ dove boile la tcnace pace, 
Non era giunto ancora Michel Zanche, 
Che questi lascLu un diavolo in sua vccc 
Ncl corpo suo, cd un suo prossimano 
Che )1 tradimento tnsieme con tui fccc. '" 

nto xxn. headings on the In/ertu). 


rasicais in our corrupt dealings with three excellent 
masters" ; but, in the opinion of Henvenuto, Ciam- 
polo knew far more than the others, and might even 
I in wiliness have given them lessons at school, as we 
ihatl presently see at the end of this Canto, Gelli, 
illuding to their mutual conversation about Sardinia, 
observes that both of them, having held positions of 
peal power and influence in that island, and having 
livtd there in great ease and comfort, now look back 
*ith regret to those halcyon days which are for ever 
passed away, and compare them with their present 
hopeless damnation and torment. He thinks that 
^ante, in ihia passage, wishes again to impress upon 
^* readers that there is no greater sorrow than to 
twnember bygone days of happiness when one is in 
'Discry and suffering. 

Division IV. — ^Ciampolo here breaks off his narra- 
tive, being overcome with terror at the threatening 
aspect of Farfarello(see 1. 94), but immediately after- 
wards his ready wit enables liim to take advantage 
f^ (he temporary immunity from attack that is pro- 
mised him, and eventually, as we shall see» to escape 
from his formidable adversaries. 

O me I vedete V aJtro che digngna : 
lo dirci anco ; ma to tcmo cb' ello 
Non a^ apparecchi a grattarmi * la tigna."— t 

'ffUMfml ia tigna ; This is an cxpreuion of the lower 
■ricfl^ aicaninK "to make my sufferings greater/^ "£o add 
— -- ?f> pain/' «& would be the case if a sore were scratched, 
rf is tcrapecl it extends ail the more. 
t it^na : Compare In/, xv, iii : — 

" S* avcftsi avuto dl ta{ ligna brama," etc 


Readings on the Itifcrn^}. Canto SXII. 

E il gran proposto,* vfillo a Farfarello 

Che stralunava t gli occhi per ferire^ 45 

Disse T— " Fitti tn costdir malvftgio uccello," — 

Ah me [ see the other how he grins : I would say 
more ; but L fear he is preparing to scratch my 
scurf {i.e. claw my skin)," And the Grand \farshal 
(Barbariccia), turning to Farfarello who was rolling 
his eyes (as if) to strike, said : " Keep off there^ 
accursed bird," 

Having thus obtained some sort of truce, Ciampolo 
hints that if the Demons will only consent to with- 
draw out of sight, he will employ a private signal, 
known and understood by himself and his hapless 
comrades, by which they give each other notice of 
the coast being clear, and of the possibility of coming 
up to the surface for cooler air. Dante being a 
Tuscan, and Virgil a Lombard, Ciampolo suggests 
that they might like to converse with some of their 

— " Se voi volete vcdere o udire,"— 

Ricomincid lo spaurato I apprcsso, 
— '^To&chi o LDmbardi, io ne far6 venire. 


**7 gran f>roposto : Commentators differ as to whether ^nn 
refers to Barbariccia's huge staturc,^ or whether it is to be 
taken as part of the irony that speaks of that Fiend as "ihc 
great MarahalV "the great Provost," etc. Pro/wstv comes 
frani the Latin prac^a&ilus^ and means that Barbariccia was 
appninted by thi; captain.^ Malacnda^ as the Dccurion to lead 
the ten. lioth Btrnvcnuto and Uuti take the latter %icw. 

i UraUumva : The Gran Diziottjtt-io says that strnlunan gli 
otfhi means : *'stravolgere in qua e in 1& gli occhi apcrti il pifk 
che si |iii6 ; Torcere pli occhi come i lunatici."~riavius Ve- 
gctiusiDi: ri milititn) has the expression Litnati{us ocvius, 

I h s.paurato : Some Commentators have attempted to show 
that the initial s is privative, and have translated J^OMPOltf 
" removed from fear, reassured." Bat that is wrong. Tb« 

uintoxxn. Readings on the Inferno. 


Ma sticn le male branche un poco in cesso,;* 100 

SI ch* ei noti teman t dcllc lar vendcttc ; 
Ed io. sedcndo in questo loco atesso, 

Per un ch' io son, ne far6 venir sette, 

Quand' io 5ufolcr6,J com' ^ nostr' uso 

Di fare allor che fuori alcun si mette." — 105 

" If,'* then resumed the terrified shade, " ye desire 
to see or hear Tuscans or Lombards, I wil! make 
some of them come. But let the Malcbranche 
stand a little aside, so that they (the shades) may 

s ia here an mteasitive* not a privative. The meaning 

ilht ftame as the Latin perterritus^ i.e. " frightened out of his 

apavrare, more usually spauriri^ is equivalent to the 

itin (ipaveOj txpavesco. The unhappy CiampoJD had little 

*a^h (o reassure hijn, and one can only shudder £0 think of 

tenible a&saulta to which he was being subjected. Nan- 

MUiUiienuaU dtlh LeiUraturtx, vt>L i, p. 215) gives an extract 

from Maestro Migliore of Florence, who flourished about 

Lo cnr cid ch' ha voluto non dtsvole, 

B J I voler V auccide [iiaiifi'] se li dura, 

Membrandoli la gioiat ch' aver suole ; 

Ch' ogn' altra vita a morte lo spaura/' 

*i**rti . . . ill «sjo .■ There are two ways of interpreting 

tbn paiuge ; (1) which 1 have followed, 1^)7.; 'Met them 

•ttfid ■ little on one side"; and (2) "let them cease, desist 

from their attacks.'* Scartajriini says that there are no in- 

tCtnco of itarf in cfno having the signification of ferniarsi^ 

ttuatt, whereat there are several of its signifying stare in dis- 

t^U, nuTf tl^M lun^i. 

f Si f4' #i noH trman : Dr. Moore [Tixt. Crit. p. 333) says that 

Htd, the original reading, is clear enough, though a consider- 

iUc number of NJSS. have gone wrongs which read si (h' io non 

taw. The rcfercni:e from d is obviously to the Tas^hi v Lom* 

kartfi of L 99 whom the Na\'arrese craftily offtirs to summon. 

D r. Moore 9tj];i{citls reasons for the error. 

^B ', Scartaz^ini thinks this was only an alleged kind' 

^ftk .unpolo Mtid titty did by way of warning each other, 

' m CMi»p«fliona in misfortune, but it was probably a lie, as in 

dMir lost state in Hell, the sinners would already have entirely 

' to faavc any emotionaof pity or kindneus to their neigh- 


/headings on the Jnfnno, Catlto 

not feaf their vengeance; and I, sitting on tKIs 
same spot, for one that I am, will make seven 
come, when I shall whistle, as it is our custom to 
do whenever an^' one of us comes out (above the 

Ciampolo's stratagem is completely successful ; 
for though Cagna^zo growls out that the thing is a 
transparent device, on Ciampolo's assurance that 
they will get far more sport in tormenting the many 
shades he will call upj than they, ten in number, 
can derive from further attacking himself alone, the 
Fiends reluctantly comply with Alichino's advice. 
and retire behind the crags on the edge of the ram- 
part away from the pitch. 

CagnazzD a cotal motto Icv6 W muso, 

Crollando il capo, e disae* — "Odi tnalizia 
Ch* egli ha pensata per giltarsi giuso," — 
Ond' ei ch* avea tacciuoli a gran divizia,* 

Rispose :^" Mahzioso t son io troppo,, i la 

Qiiand' io procuro a* micij maggior tristizia.** — 
Alichin non si tenne, c di rimoppo ^ 

Agli altri, disse a lui ; — *' Sc tu ti cali, 
\q non ti v'err6 dietro di galoppo ; 

*la££iuoH a gran diviiia : Compare Boccaccio, De^am, Giom, 
viii, Nov. 7, last page, where the very same expression is used 

*'Quivi la donna, che avevaa gratidiW2ia lacciuali,"// itq. A\ 
through the Dtcaimron are to be found sentences, wonJs^ am 
expressions borrowed from Dante or of frequent use both in 
his time as well as in Boccaccio's, and a close perusal of th4 
book will well repay the Dante aludcnl. 

\ Maiii.ioio : Note Ciampolo's cunning. Cagna^jo had use 
the word malisia [1. 107] in the sense of " knavish trick, dodgi _ 
device." Ciampolo uses a derivative of malisM with a different 
sense, namely, "a knave, an evil-doer/' 

J a' miti : Some read hfre procuro a mia maggior triitizia^ but 
the reading ji' mifi has an overwhelmingly superior authority. 

^Ji rifiiop^o : That is, in opposition to the other Demons,, 
who Mere most unwilling to atLuch the smallest credence t< 

Canto XXII. R£adings on the In/ernn. 


Ma battcrb sopra la pcce V 21I1 :* 115 

Lascisi i] co]|e c sja la ripa scudo 
A veder bc tu sol pii^ di noi vaii.** — 

Cagna^io at this speech raised his saout, wagjjing 
hia head, and said ; " Hark at ihe knavery he has 
pUnned for casting himself under ! " Whereupon 
he (Ciampolo), who had artiRces in great abund- 
ance^ replied : '* Knavish am I too much indeed, 
seeing that I procure for my comrades greater 
AOrrow.*' Alichino could no longer restrain him- 
self, and in opposition to the others, said to him : 
" If thou plunge down, not in a galSop (i.e. on my 
feet) will I follow thee, but I will beat my wings 
above the pilch (/.^f. fly like a falcon) : let us quit 
Ihe summit, and be the bank our screen, that we 
may fiee if thou alone art more than a match for 

Wc are now to suppose that the Fiends have all 
tamed round, with their backs towards the lake of 
pitch, preparatory to retiring beyond the bank, 
Ciampolo does not hesitate an instant, but plunges 
in. and the rage and disappointment of the bafficd 
Demons is described in humorous terms. Alichino 

'■tat«ineflt« of CiampolOi and would never have allowed 
elvu. to be deluded into letting him slip through their 
Compare /«/■ txsiii, 95, 96, where rintvppo means "a 

** E il duel, chc trova in >ugli occhi rintoppo. 
Si volve ivi enlro a far crescer I' ambascia." 
*hmtUri , . . f ali : Compare Snf. sxvi, 1, 2 : — 
** Uodi, Fiorenza, poi che sei si i^randc 

Che per marc e per terra batti l* ali," 
whacb mcmoa that the fame of Florence ia spread all over Ihe 
world. Compare also P*ir. xi, 1-3 :— 
**0 insensata cura del mortali, 

Quanto son difettivi billogismi 

Quci che ti fanno in basso batter l' ali/' 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxii. 


swoops down at him as a falcon does upon a duc^. 
but is loo late, and wheeling upwards to fly back, 
encounters his comrade Calcabrina, who in brutal 
fury turns upon him. The two struggling Fiends 
fall into the pitch, and are with some difficulty extri- 
cated by the others. 

O tu che leggi, udirai nuDVO tudo! 

Ciascun dalP a]tra casta gli occhi volse ; 

Quei prima, ch' a ci6 fare era pi^ crudo.* 
Lq Navarrcse ben siio tempo colse, 

Ferm5 ]e piante sl terra, ed in an punto 

Salto, e dal proposto lor si sciolse. 

O thou that readest, thou shalt hear of new sport ? 
Every one (of the ten) turned hia eyes to the other 
side (of the rampart) ; he (Cagnazzo) first, who to 
do so had been the most reluctant {lit. harsh). 
The Navarrese chose his time well, planted his 
feet firmly on the ground, and in an instant 
leaped, and from their intention freed himself. 

There is a great difference of opinion as to the 
meaning of lor proposto. I have followed Buti, Lan- 
dino^ and nearly all the modern Commentators io 
explaining it as "their intention, their design." 
BenvenutOj the Ottimo. Vellutello, Volpi, Cesari, 
Lombard!^ and Blanc think it means Barbanccia {it 
gran proposto), who had been holding Ciampolo in 
his arms. But Scartazzini points out thai if Bar- 
bariccia had remained behind, then the stipulation 
that the Demons should stand aside would not have 
been fulfilled, and they could not in that case expect 
that Ciampolo would have summoned the Tuscan 

*Quei prima, cA' a ci& fare era pOk crndo : This refers to Ca- 
gnazzD) who had shown the greatest distrust of Ciampolo's 

Canto XXI L Readings on the Inferno. 


and Lombard shades. Dante says moreover that 
ihcy all turned their eyes away {ciascun ^li occhi 
[iwiv). Besides^ if Barbariccia had remained with 
, Ciampolo, he would have been the Demon nearest 
to him when he escaped, and hi, not Alichino, would 
have been the one to f!y after him, as we!l as the one 
the most to be blamed for allowing him to escape ; 
and against him, not against Alichino, would Calca- 
brina's fury have been directed. 

Di che ciascun dt colpa fu compunto,* 
Ma quei piiH, chc cagion fii del difetto ; 
Pero fii moase, c grldo ;— '* Tw se' giunto," — 

Ma pocD i valse : ch^ V a]i al soEpetto 

Non potero avanzar: quegli andd sotto, 
E quei At\zz\ volando, susd il pctta: 

Non altrimenti 1' anitra di botto, 

Quando il falcon s' appressa.t giu s' attuJTa, 
Ed ci Tttornft su cnjccialo c rotto.J 



*di (clpet fu (omputtto : In thts passage others tread : di colpo 
ffimpuHlo, which would mean: "Ihcy were all smitten with 
grief." Hut ihc context in the following line (/«/. *, 
em& to speak in. favour of the reading coif>a : — 
" Allor, cofiie di mia coJpa compunto," etc 
'0i ioi^f cioi ciascun si riputo colpcvole del suo fugglre." 
{Buti.>. Bcnvcnuto gives his readers their choice of either 
aitcrnalivc interpretation. 

f t mmtm . . . Qvaudo it fakon s' apprtssaf ct ■seq. : Compare 
tbe punoit of the pigeon by the hawk in Homer, //, ;ixti (xj, 
139. i+o:— ^ ^ 

** ^vrt itipieof opttTiPuf, i\a<^^>iirarot jtfrwififiaw, 
^ifiiMT ajfitftrt fitra Tprfpeoim n-fXfuh'." 
And Virgil, -€». xi, 721-723 :— 

** Quam facile acctpiter saxo sacer ales ab alto 
Contcquitur pcnnis sublimem in nubi' columbam, 
Cooiprenaamque tenet, pedibujique cviscerat uncis." 
J rmCto: In a recent work, Dante and tfu Animal Kingdom, by 
Richard Thayer Holbrook. Ph.D., New York, MacniillanK, 
I90«i pt^ 350-252, wc learn that ratt-o ia a technical term in 


Readings on the Inferno, Canto xxii. 

At which they all were smitten with self-reproach^ 
but most of all he Alichino, who had been the 
cause of the loss (of their prey) ; wherefore he 
started forward, and yelled : *' Thou art caught ! " 
But little did it avail him : for his wings could not 
outstrip the terror (of the fugitive) : the one dived 
under, and the othef (Alichiao) flyinj; back^ 
directed his breast upwards. Not otherwise does 
the wild duck, when the falcon comes near, dive 
under at once, and he (the falcon) Boars up again 
angry and ruffled. 

Falconry, meaning '^with rumpled plumage/' Dr. HolbrooW ' 
describes tbe scene in ihe text as follows: ''Dante's mos't 
vigorous touches show the hawk in action, stooping to the 
quarry or grabbing another hawk. Certain d<;WU have their 
clutches on a .^linncr, who of a sudden trickily slips away and 
dives, into a pool of hot pitch. Alichino, a devil, dashes after 
him, and missing, grapples his fellow-devil Calcabrina. . , . 
Though a hungry falcon might stoop for a swimming; duck, her 
action would be a misdemeanour, for it was a rule of Falcoar}' 
not to fly the falcon until the quarr>' was running or on the 
wing, (See Albertus Magnus, Dt Fakonibus, cap, 6). The 
situation in this instance is plainly that the duck makes for 
the water pursued by the falcon, which fails to give the duclc 
a deadly clutch, In the tussle the falcon runiplts her plumage; 
then unahle to pursue her quarry into the watcr» she sweeps 
up wrathfully. One devil claws the other, as so often happens 
in Falconry, when two hawks, stooping for the aame prey, and 
both missing, turn in anger, clutch, and one hawk trusses the 
other with her long dasger*like claws. Her ferocity is 
accurately described by Dante. 

" If any phase of animal existence is portrayed by Dante in 
a masterly way, it is to be found in his pictures of hawks ; for 
he understood them well, and painted their portraits in a few 
entirely natural attitudes. In his (realment of this purely 
mediffivft[ theme, Dante is distinctly modern. One will scarcely 
find more accurate observation in the superb poems of Leconte 
de Lisle." 

On roll& as a technical term of Falconry, see also Librr 4t 
Curis Avium, in Scelta di Curios. LeU.y vol. 140, p. 56: "E 
senpre quando a lo sparvjere sono piegatc le penne, si dea 
soccorrcrc coll' acqua caltla c colla banbagia ^^ctton-wooi^ c 
menarla dolcementc Bopra esBe^ c regcnerannosi ; inpercio che 
sozza cosa ene a cplui che tent lo aparviere ae TucccUo ene 

Jm^Sli. Readings &n tke Inferno. 


Benvenuto remarks that the power of fear is so 
5r*at that sometimes one on foot has been known to 
escape from a pursuer on horseback; such speed 
^.vil! terror lend to his feet, if he sees not far off a 
place oi safely to which a great effort on his part 
^*^ill bring him. Admirable, too, the simile of the 
Cakon and the duck ! Alichino has wings and talons 
Ukt the falcon. 

Irato Cakabhna. della buffa^* 

Volando dietro gti tenne, invaghito 
Che quel campasse, per aver la zuffa. 

E come il barattier fu disparito, 

Cosi volse gH artigli a] s«o compagno, 
B fu con lui aopra i) fosso ehcrmito.t 

Ua r altro fu bene sparvier grifagno J 
Ad artigltar ben tui;H ed ambo e due 
Caddcr nel mezzo del boglicntc stagno. 



_'*.• The Gran Diiionario, a,v. bufftt §4, ejEplains the 
prctcnt pas&age as '^inganno falto con tscherno'*; Casini in a 
note sap : '*g(i antichi commentaiori, che riguardo al valor* 
i f\fitfna. voce in Inf. vii, 6r sono discordi, qui la spiegano 
^J nel AJgnificato d' ingantta (cf. Via 72).'' 

. , . ghirmito : Donkin {Etym. Diet.) says that grtmire, 
IB deri\-ed from Ihc Old High German krmmatitto 


Jf^rvier erifagnt* : This means a sparrow-hawk that has 
:>tn(d iN full growth and vigour. Brunctto L.atini (Li 
^'ryifi, livfc i, part v, cap. cxlix) says that &l\ birda of prey 
•uvt ihree ntageK, in which tbey are respectively called, niats 
(Itil. nidiati)^ ne&tiings ; ramaitis (ftal. Tafnuii-, when the}' can 
fts rnough to follow (he parent bird from boudh to bough : and 
■ Jt (Ital. gri/agni}^ when they arc full fledged wi(h their 
*i'^-s plumage, and their eyes ginwing like fire Compare 
' ' iv, 113 :— 

"Ccsare arniatn con gll occhi grifagni,'^ 
ftd Arioslo, Ori Fur, xxi. st- 63 : — 

" Come iparv'icr che nel picdc grifagno 
Tenga la siama." 
I-uitfiaa dcrKfibei gri/agtio nearly in the aatne words as Ser 
II. O 


Readings on the inferno. Canto xxit J 

Calcabrina, furious at the trick, kept behind him 
(Alichino) on the wing, well-pleased that he 
(Ciampolo) had escaped, that he might have the 
broil (he sought). And as soon as the Barrator 
had disappeared^ so at once did he turn his talons 
against his comrade, and with him was in clos« 
gfapple above the fosse. But the other (Alichino) 
was indeed a sparrow*hawk full of vigour in 
fastening his talons upon him, and both of them 
fell into the midst of the boiling tlood, 

Benvenuto thinks that under this allegory Dante 
is depictitrg what Benvenuto has seen more than 
once, when two high officials (understand the 
Demons) think to obtain the bribes of a new comer 
at the Court (understand Ciampolo), who being far 
more wily than they, makes them believe that he is 
wealthy, and has important litigations to carry 
through, in which their interest will greatly assist 
him. He makes many promises to the first one, 
and then to the second, and when each flatters him- 
self he has secured his prey, their supposed victim 
leaves them for a third high of^cial. They quarrel. 
Each declares the other has robbed him of his booty, 
and they fall into the pitch, that is, into the infamy 
of being known as traffickers in their high offices, 
and become the laughing-stock of all the Court. 
But then the fear of further obloquy and ridicule 
makes them desist from the open enmity they still 

BrunettOT "Chifimano sparaviere nidiace, quando picciolina 
£ preao nel nido, che ancora nan pu5 volare. Et ramingo, 
quando comincia a volare, c( sta in sui rami, Et grifagno, poi 
che h mutato [ffwulUUy in selva, t^t questi ultitni, bcnch^ con 
pii& difBcoltA si concino, [an tam«i\ nientedimeno sono ptfi 
animosi alio ucccIUre \are more ^piriUd birdifar huukingY^ 

Canto xx!L Readings oh the Ittferno, 


ftel in their secret hearts, and like the two Demons, 
as we read in the lines that follow, they find the 
place so hot for them, that they ungrapple from 
iheir deadly contention* 

Lo caldo sghermitor* subito fue; 

Ma per6 dt Itvar&i era mente,t 

Si aveano invUcate 1' ali sue. 
Barbariccia, con gli altri !iuot dolente, 145 

Quattro ne fc' volar dall' akra costa| 

Con tulti ) rafB, ed assai pre^tamente 

* ightrmitor : Fram sghermirc the contrary of gkermire. The 
Beatnudc tKe two who were grappled iogcihcr Qhermiti)^ sepa- 
fWc, or ungrapplc immediately. The Latin of sghermire ia dis- 
f^hwrt. Benvenuio qommcnts thus on the present passage: 
"H^itrnitor, id est, subitum separator JKtorum, ita quod disghcr- 
oiilivit cos ubi erant primo ghermiti inter se." Others read 
x^IwwhIw (or ^1?^) instead ol sghet-jnidor (or tor), and as the 
•orti icfifrmirt and its derivatives was much more familiar 
ihjniijAfrwjjr^. it came to be much more often adopted. Dr. 

f Moore T^» It, Cnt, pp. ijj. 5^4) says that though the difference 
maiung ai the two rival words is very important, the differ- 
^f* in form 15 not only vcrj' slight, but one verj' liable to 
"uc aCcidcntalJy from considerations of dialect or ortho- 
ptphy, but l>r, Moore says tt ts important to insist on sgher- 
■uw being certainly the true reading- The meaning of 
mXkirmitor (from sch^rmin^ tf. schirtfttn) is "a defence." 

^^L t£ Jkvarsj era ni&ttf ; There was no way, no poasibility of 
^^vBirrisinK on their wings. It is the same expression as the 
Win nihii «/ ifuoj. Compare /«/* ix, 56, 57 :-~^ 

*'Ch4 ftc it Gorgon si mostra, e tu il vedessi, 
Nulla aarebbe del tornar mai suao." 

'tUir attra tosttt : That is, Barbariccia made four 
.,__ over /ciw'jfiis the opposite shore, 1 do not 

-^.„- ftey would reach it, or else the width of the 

•oilmg pitch wnutd not have been wider than that of a narrow 
■ttm, but that these four, poised on their win(;R+ helped Bar- 
hwKcia and hia remaining three Xo extricate the two hellmeti 
■*«* Ou •omctimcs has the meaning of "towards." See da in 
^ Graa Disionario, § 3^ : " Talora indica ■) luogo a cui si va."* 
tl. 2 


Readings ott ike Inferno. Canto xxri. 

Di qua. di \k, disceaero alia posta: 

Porser gli uncini verso gl' impaniali,, 
Ch' eran gii cotti dentro dalla crosta* 

E nol lasciammo lor cosi inipacciati.'l' 

The heat was an instantaneous ungrappler (i.#. 
made them part at once) : but all the same theyl 
had no power of rising, so be-glued had they got 
their wings. Barbariccia, with his other fotlowei? 
lamenting, made four of them fly over towards 
the opposite shore with all their drag-hooks> and 
very speedily, on the one side and on the other, 
they descended lo their posts ; they extended thc*r 
hooks towards the belimed pair, who were already 
scalded within the crust i and we left them thus 

This, says Benvenuto, means that wise men do 
not interfere in such strife^ but leave the litigants to 
get out of their entanglement as best they can. And 

Compare Pulci, Morgante Sftt^gton, 1,49:^ 

"Effirla via da que' ^iganti morti (ciofe» la via andando 

luogo dov' erano quei, ecc.)." 



luogo QQV erano quei, ecc.^. ■ 

And at g 122 of iff, the Gran Dhhnario has: **Per Verio, In- ■ 
tunw," Compare Bernardo Tasso^ L<ttfre, ii, 12: "II re ha da ■ 
quelle fronticrc {i.t. in the direction of those frontiers] lochi 
fartissimi e incspugnabili.'" 

* trosia : Some of the Commentators think thrs means the 
crust which the pitch hnd formed upon their bodies, but 
Scartaizini aska whiire the proof is that Dante described the 
pitch as forming any crust at all. Camerint fo]lo%vs LaniJino 
in thinking croiia means the surface of the lake on which the 
pitch had farmed a crust. Sciirtazzini understands crosta as 
the outer surface of their skin, and the passage lo mean that 
the Fiends had not only got the outer surface of their akin 
burned, but underneath it as welL 

fimpacciaii : Dante means to say that he and Virgil left the 
Fiends "besel with difficulties,'^ ''with their hands full,'' ** io 
a mess." Two were struggling on the surface of the pitch 
with their wings all covered with it and the other eight were 
CKZcupicd in pulling ihcm up. 


Canto XXII. Headings on the Inferno, 213 

from all that has been written and related in this 
Canto we are to mark how the greater Barrators 
delude and injure the lesser ones, and how there are 
times when the lesser Barrator succeeds in stirring 
up strife between them, and then flies and escapes. 


Canto XXIIi, /headings on the Inferno, 



bank which is the lower pari of the Bolgia of the 
Barrators, but the upper rampart of that of the 
Hypocrites. (See diagram). 

Benvenuto divides the Canto into four parts* 

In Division I, from ver. 1 to ver. 57, Dante relates 
how, as the Poets retreat from the scene of the 
recent contention, they are pursued by the infuriated 
Demons ; but, by the use of his supernatural powers, 
Virgil carries Dante safely down into the next Bolgia. 

In Division IT, from ver. 58 to ver. 72. the punish- 
ment of the Hypocrites is described, 
— 'In Division III, from ven 73 to ver. 108, Dante 
relates his interview with the Frati Godenti. 

In Divi^imi III, from ver. 109 to ver. 148, Dante 
mentions some other Hypocrites, among whom is 
Caiaphas; after which the Poets quit the Sixth Bolgia, 
by ascending the ruins of another broken bridge, by 
which they reach the next bank or rampart. 

Division \, — The scene which they have so re- 
cently left indisposes the Poets for conversation, and 
ihey walk on for a while iramersed in deep thought 
and in single tile. 

Taciti, soli e sctixa compagnia, 

K' nndavam'*' I' un dinan^i e V altro dapo, 
Come frati minor t vanno per via. 

. J tomp^^nia^ N* audavam : Contrast thta with the com- 
eincnt of their march with the Fiends [Inf. xxii, i j^ 14) : — 
" Noi andavam con li dteci dimoni : 
Ahi fiera compag^nia ! " 
Cocnpare Chaucer^ Knighti^s TaU, 2779-2761 '.— 

** What is this world } what axca men to have ? 
Now with his love, now in his cotde grave 
A)one wilhoulen any compagnie," 
t/pflf« minvr : The Franciscans styled themselves Minor 


Headings on the Inferno. Canto xxiii. 

Silent, alone, and without escort we went on» 
the one (Virgil) before, and the other (myselO 
behind, even aa Minor Friars go along the way. 

Benvenuto remarks that not only because he was 
the more ancient Poet, does Virgil precede Dante, 
but also because, in the allegorical sense, the wise 
man ever keeps Reason before him. It is remarkable 
that while Benvenuto in 1375 states that the Fran- 
ciscans commonly walk along the road in pairs, 
decorously and in silence, the more venerable goin^ 
first, Gelli, writing in 1560, says ; " It was a custom 
they seem to have had in those times, but nowadays 
they are in the habit of walking abreast." Scartaz- 
zini notices the happy contrast there is between the 
comical termination of the ■ last Canto, and the 
solemn serious demeanour with which Dante and 
Virgf] resume their journey, directly they have parted 
with their grotesque escort. 

As Dante thinks over the broil of Altchino and 
Calcabrina, there recurs to his mind a fable, wrongly 
attributed by him to *^sop, but which is found in the 
Life of /Esop, written by Maximus Planudes, a monk 
who lived in the fourteenth century, the moral of 
which is that he who seeks to compass evil for his 
neighbour, is often surprised by misfortune himself** 

FriafB in token of their humility. The AnontTHo Fiortntino says 
of them ^ *' & usan^a de' Fraii mtnori piu chc dcgli attri frati* 
andando a cammino, andare 1* uno innanzi^ qucllo di piu »Uto* 
riti^ I' altro dirietro et He|^uitarlo." 

There was a tradition among 3ome writers in the fourteenth 
century that Dante^ when he was still young, became a Fri*r 
of the Order of the Minorites, but that he put off the ^^th 
before making his profession. The Bubject is discussed in the 
present work^ in the notes on /n/. xvi, 106 c/ s€^. 

*Thc fable is 3s follows : "Quando colloquebantur animalis 




Janto XXI 11. Readings on the Inferno. 


V61to era tn autla favoLa di IsopD 

Lo mio pensier per ta presente, 
Dov' ei parl6 dcl]a rB,T\B. e del topo:* 

Chi pii^ non si pareggia mo ed issft,f 

bruta, mus ranae amicus factus ad cocnam earn invitavit, et 
abducla in penarium divitis^ ubi multa comestibilia crant, 
comedc, inquU, arnica rana. Post epulationem et rana murem 
ID suam invitavit coenationem ; sed ne defaCigare. inquil, na- 
tuido. Bli tcnuj tuum pedcm mco Rlli^abo. Atque hoc facto 
mahavit in paludem. Ea autcm urinata in profundum, mus 
mlEbcabatur, et morietis ait: cj^a quidcm pro ic mnrior, sed 
inc vindicabit majar. Suptrrnatante igitur mure in palude 
raaitUQ, dcvolans aquila hunc arripuit, cum ca appen&am una 
etiam ranam, et sic ambos devoravit/' Buti says that in the 
tine of Dante this Tabic was to be found in a little reading 
book used by children learning their grammar. Benvenuto 
mentions that a Latin version from ^sop contained this fable : 
".'fisopus . . . GraeccQcripsit ma^numopus, ex quo dcfloratua 
fuit isU parvus hhdiui quo LaHni utuntnr," etc. Dr. Moore 
SSuJvJ in Dante, i, p, 295) remarks on the abovt : "This is 
sting because it suggests a possible sinnilar source for 
J other quoialions by Dante, especially some of those 
are difficult to identify in the authors cited. There 
SlBSl have been many libflh of ixcerpta^ or 'elegant extracts' 
&■ iMHJH icholarum^ which are now lost.'^ 

*ld/tt: Sec Readings on tfte Purgati>rio, vol. ii, p. 41, footnote 
on I- 3 of Canto xvii. where the different words in use in Italy 
to express *'mou5Cj" or "rat," and the ambiguity between the 
two, arc fully discussed. There can be no df>ubt in the present 
paasaisc that topo means "mouse/" as it would not have been 
paaaiblc tot the frog |o have drowned a rat, 

t M0 and issa are two wards both of which mean '^ now," 
aaraelVt Md = modo,An6 issa = ipid kord. Henvcnuto considers 
«• to DC of Tuscan use. and iaa of Lombard. In h\f. xxvii, 
i9-at» Guido da Montefeltro, who was not a Lombard, uses the 
visrd mc himaclf^ and identtfics Virgil as ^ Lombard from his 
having }ust befare used the word issa, which ia a Milanese 

"O tu, a cut ia dri^cEO 
La vnce, e che parlavi mo Lombardo, 
nicendo :, ' issa ten vsj piu non t' adizzo.' " 
Cioida da Monlcfrltro means to say: ''Just now {mo) you were 
ifcaking Lombard, and using the words : hm ten va, etc." 

^^raosl h 

2i8 Readings on the In/erno, Canto xxrti. 

Che r un con 1' altro fa, ae ben a^ accoppia 
Principio c fine con la mcnle fissa : * 

My thoughts were turned by the present fray to 

the fable of /Eaop, in which he spoke of the frog 
and the mouse : for not more alike are mo and 
issa, than is the one (case) to the other, if the 
beginning and end (of either episode) be compared 
by an attentive mind. 

This means that if one carefully likens the retri- 
butive justice which fell upon the frog for compassing 
the death of the mouse and being himself devoured 
by the kite, with what has just befallen Calcabrina^ — 
who, while tiying to injure Alichino, has fallen with 
him into the boiling pitch — one will see a precise 
analogry in the two occurrences. Calcabrina corre- 
sponds to the frog, Alichino to the mouse. The be- 
ginning {principio) was the similar plotting in both 
cases, Calcabrina against Alichino. and the frog 
against the mouse ; while the end {fine) is that in 
both cases the plotter and the one plotted against 
fell into like retribution from a third cause : the frog 
and the mouse were both snapped up by the kite^ 
and the two Fiends fell into the boiling pitch. 

The more Dante broods over the situation, the less 
is he able to assuage his fears. 

E come V un pensier delP altro scoppia,+ 


*W hm ^ a££Oppia Priwipio t Jim con U menUfiiM : Profenor 

Norton remarks that the comparison is not very close except 
in the matter of anticipated vengeance. Benvcnuto $ays that 
" passus vere est fortis, idco notanter dixit autorquod inente 
fixa erat adaptanda comparatio." 

t/' un p^fiskr deif altro scoppia : Compare Petrarch, Part I, 
Canxont xiii, si. i : — 

^am^xkiii. /headings on the Inferno. 


Cosi nacque di quello un altro poi, 
CKc la prima paura* mi fe' dcrppia. 

to pensava cofii: — "Queeti per noi 

Sono scherniti, e con danno e con beffa t 
St fatta^ ch^ assai credo che lor noJ4 

Se I' ifa sopra il mal volcr s* aggueSa,| 


' Di pcnsicr in pcnsier, di montc in monte 
Mi guida Amor; ch' ogni segnato calle 
Provo contrario alia tranquilla vita." 
And Michelangelo Buonarotli the younger. La Fkni. Giorn. 
IV, Act iv, sc, 2.^ (in Lc Monnier's edition, p. 688) : — 
" Sminuendo 'I cammtno, 
Tempo abbrcvier6 sp^sone assai. 
Mentre ch' or questo or quelle 
Pcnsicr succede e visco all' altro fassi, 
B r altro air altro g laccio che scl tjra 
Dietro seguacc." 
*ta prima paura : This means the terror Dante had ex- 
pressed to Vir^l (xxi, 127-132), on seeing that Ihcy were to be 
accompanied by the ten Demons, 

tfon danno t con htffa : The ridicule {bcffa) fell upon the 
whole band of the ten Demons commanded by Barbariccia; 
: damage {ianno) upon the two who tumbled down into the 

This is the 3rd sing^ of the present subjunctive of the 
moiart^ " to annoy, irritfitc, cnraj^e." 
f •ru iopra it mai voler 5' aggu€ffa .* Compare Inf. xxxi, 55* 

*' Chi dove V argomento dclla mente 

S' aggiunge al mal volere ed atla possa, 
Nessun riparo vi pu6 far la gente." 
And Purg_, V, 112, 113:— 

"Giun&e quel mal voler, che pur mal chiede 
Con r inteltetto" 
**Agu*gave h Rio aggiungerc, come ei fa ponendo \q filo dal 
(otnitnalla mano, c innaspandocon I' ii^^r>\u'inding off the yarn 
« tk* rw/)." (Butil. "^Aggufffare It. to add, Dante Inf. xxiii, 
t6 : M r ira iovra il mal itfi^r s aggiieffa ; prop. = * to weave on ' 
frnm Old High German u'i/uh, to w6a.vcy qL adUxtre. Of the 
ttiDc ofigin is the Lombard n-i^cj, guiffa, a mark of possession 
Wached to a property, vfa. guiffare, to attach such a mark to a 
thii)^ Hence French giffer, to mark a houac with chalk, con- 
iKMe it' (Donkin's LtymoL Vict^. 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxiii. 

El ne verranno dittro piu crudeli 

Che '1 cane a queUa lepre ch' egli acccffa." — * 

And as one thouj^ht bursts forth from another 
(i.e. the thought of the fable was suggested by the 
sight of the fray), so out of that there was gener- 
ated another, which made my first fear double. I 
reasoned thus: "These (Fiends) through us have 
been flouted and wtth such great damage and 
ridicuJeasI think wilt much enrage them. If then 
to their evil-will anger be superadded {Hi, woven 
on), they will come in pursuit of ii5 more pitilessly 
than the dog after the hare which it snaps up," 

Benvenuto observes that this is a fact patent to 
everybody. A man who is merely wicked is to be 
feared because he is naturally prone to do evil ; but 
if, besides being wicked, he is enraged at something. 
then he is ail the more to be feared. 

Dante's terror Is so great, that he entreats Virgil 
to devise some means of concealment. 
Gijk mi sentta tutti arricciart li pell 

Delia paura, e stava indietro intento, 40 

Quando io disai ;—'* Maestro, se non celi 

*a£C(ffa : Acctffarc {i.e. afferran col affo, affo is m. dog's 
mouth) is a term of the chase, and is said of a dog seizing the 
hare or other ^amc with his te^th- Compare Fa^io dcgli 
Uberti, Dittamondo, lib. ii, cap. xxvii :— 

" Se 'I sai non so, dico dal Pi alP EfTcj 

Tra quai di Falterona un serpe corrc, 
Che par chc il corpo di ctaacun acccffe." 
/'((the letter P) stands for Pisa ; Effc (the letter F) for Fircnzc, 
un scrpe for the winding Arno which rises in Monte Faltcrooa. 
f arricciar : The Dictionaries say the word is equivalent to 
soiievare, rizzare ; and is especially used in speaking of a man's 
hair, which atilTens and stands up from the effect of sudden 
fright or horror. Compare Ariosto, Orl, Fur. \ si. 29 : — 
■* All' apparir che fecc all' improwiao 

Dall' acqua V ombra^ ngni pelo arriciossc, 

E scolorossi al Saractno il viso ; ^H 

La voce, ch' era per uscir, fermoasc." ^| 

Canto XXIII. Readings on ihc Inferno. 


Tc e me tostamentCj i' ho pavento * 

Di Malcbranche: not gli avcm gi& dietro : 
lo gl' immagino si, che gtA gli sento."^ — 
Already I felt all my hair standing^ on end through 
fear, and was keeping a vigilant look out behind 
me, when I said : *' Master, unless thou dost 
speedtly concea! thyself and me, I am in dread of 
the M/ihbrttTiiht- : we have already got them be- 
hind us: I so imagine thenit that already I can 
hear them.'* 

Tommas^o says that this last sentence is a true 
picture of Dante himself. 

Virgil replies at once that he knows all that is in 
Darite's mind ; he could not, even were he a mirror, 
be more quick to reflect Dante's features, than he 
now is to imprint into his understanding Dante's 
innermost thoughts ; and that his own ideas and 
Dante's combine so perfectly, that they frame them- 
selves into the same determination, namely, to 
escape ; and he suggests in what way they may 
possibly do so by merely natural means ; but he 
doeii not give Dante the slightest hint that their 
danger will be so pressing as to force him to put 
forth his supernatural powers to effect Dante's dc' 
I liverance. 

♦t* ho puvtnio : BiagioH observes that pavcnto has much 
OMfc force than timort, paurn. Tommaa^o $iays iE was a ward 
BOrc uaed in Dante's time than since. Probably it is derived 
fcwn the Latin /^it-tff. Compare Potiziano, Rimt, Canzone i, 
A. 4 (in Milan edition nf 1825^ p. 60) :— 

Come Agghiacciai, com' arai, 

Quando di fuori un nembo 

Vedea rider inloroo 

(Oh bcncdetlo gjnrno \) 

E pirn di rose 1' amoroso grembol 

Suo divin portamento 

Kitrftt tu Amor, ch' io per me xC ho pavento.'* 

R^adin^^ on ih^ Inffrno. Canto 

E qud ;— " S' io fossi d* impiombato vctro.* 
L' imagine di fuor tua non trarrei 
Pii^ tosto a mc, che qudlH d' entro impctro. 

Pur mo i venian li tuoi pensicr tra i tnici 
Con simile atto e con siinile faccia, 
SI che d* intrambi un aol consigliQ fei.|: 



* impiombato vetro : A mirror. Compare Par. ii, 89, 90 : — 
"■ Cosi, come color torna per vetro, 
Lo qua! diretro a s6 piombo nascondc." 
The same idea as ihe pa.ssage in the text is beautifutlv ei 
pressed by Petrarch, Part I, Canx. iil, st. 4 :^- 

" E perchS pria, tacendo, non m* impctro } 

Cerlo, grislallo o vetro 

Non iTiDstro inaJ di fore 

Nascosto ogni colore, 

Che I* alma sconsolata assai non mofttri 

Fl^ dhian i pensier nogtri 

E la fera dolcezza ch* ^ nel core. 

Per gli occhi, che di sempre pianger vaghi 

Cercan di e notte pur chi glien' appaghi.** 
In Conv. iii, 9, II. 72-82, Dame, comparing the crj'staHine 
lens of the eye to a mirror says: '"E nell' acqua ch i ndl* 
pupilla dell' ncchio, questo discorso, che fa la forma visibile per 
io iTtczzo auo, si compie, pcTCh^ quell' acqua ^ termtnata 
quasi come specchio, che t vcLro tcrminato con piombo^ 
sicch^ passar piii oltrc non puA, ma quivi, a modo d' una palla 
percoBfia, fii ferma. Sicch^ la forma, che nel mcz/o tra&pa- 
rente non pare, lucida i terminata ; e quesio e quelle per che 
nel vetro piombato la immagine appare, e non in altru." GclJi 
observes that iti his time the preparation of the lead that was 
laid on the back of the glass plate was made according lo a 

ftarticular process, and was only manufactured in Germany 
ntUa Magna] by one particular family, who never allowed 
their secret to become known. 

t Pur mo, el seq, : Biagioli quotes the following, but I cannot 
trace the reference, as he does not give the author*8 natnc: — 
" D' uno stesao voter due desiderj 
Si vengono a *ncontrar." 
, t _«ff so/ i^onsiglio/d : The idiom /rfrf^ pi^Han, or prouUrt ww* , 
•Hffno is equivalent to ddtbtrart, rhotvcrty Lat. lomiitum r-atfrtt 
*^reek frjitKMyjdirtfai. Compare Petrarch, Pari I, Si/ntut cx\u (in 
»ome editions ij6j :— 



^H Canto xxiii. J^eadings on the Inferno. 223 ^^B 

^^K S' egli h. che si la dcstra costa giaccia,* ^^^| 
^^^^^ Che noi po&siam nell' altra bolgia scendere, ^^^| 
^^^^K Koi fuggircm L' immaginata caccia." — ^^^| 

^^^^And Ke : " Even though I were a looking-glass, I ^^H 
^^ could not draw to myself thine outward image ^^^| 

more quickly than I receive that from within. ^^H 
^^ Only now thy thoughts entered among my own ^^H 
^B {i,t^ I was just thinkiDg the same thing) with the ^^^| 
^^ like act (of suspicion) and the like appearance (of ^^^| 
^P fear), so that of both (corresponding thoughts) I ^^^| 
^^ formed one single resolve (namely, to escape). If ^^^| 

tt be the case that the clilT on our right slopes ^^^H 
^H enough for us to descend into the next Boigia^ we ^^^| 
^H shall escape from this chase that we have pictured ^^^| 
^H to ourselves/' 

^^ Virgil in using the word caccia, is following up the 
idea in Dante's mind, not expressed in words» that 
ihe Demons would pursue them as pitilessly as a 
giey-hound snaps up a hare. 

Dante's apprehensions are fully justified. The in- 
stant the two be-limed Fiends have been liberated by 
the other eight, the whole ten start off in hot pursuit 

^^h ** Allor raccolgo ]' alma, c poi ch' i^ aggio ^^^| 
^^P Di scovririe il mio mal preso consigUo, ^^^| 
Tanto U ho a dir che 'ncominciar non oso."^ ' ^^^| 
^iU»d Ariosto, OrL Fur, xxiv^ gt, j 12 : — ^^^| 
^^k " Si pigliA Bnatmenle per consiglio, ^^^H 
^^H Che ) duo guerrieit dcposto ogni veneqo, ^^^H 
^^F Facciano insieme triegua infinoal giorno ^^^| 
^P Che aia toUo 1' assedio ai Mori inlorno." ^^H 
'^MttM ,- Virgil U3» the same expression in Inf. xijt, 34* fl 

3f>'~ ^ J 

**. , . Se tu vuoi ch' )0 ti porti ^^^1 

Laggii^ per quelU ripa che pii^ giace, ^^^| 

Da tui saprai di s£ e dc' suoi torti." ^^^| 

CompTc alao IL 137, 158 in this Canto:— ^^^| 

^^^^H " Montar potrcte su per la ruino, ^^^| 

^^^^H Che giacc in cosia, c ncl fando sopcrchia." ^^^| 


Readings on ike Inferno. Canto XXIII. 

of the Poets, and the fearful suddenness of their 
approach is graphically described. Virgil, however, 
IS on the alert. Promptly acting upon his pre- 
viously formed resolution, he catches up Dante, as a 
mother snatches a child from a burning house, and 
by supernatural power slides with him down the face 
of the precipice into the next Bolgia, 

Gi^ nan compi^ di lal consigUo rendere,* 

Ch" io gli vidi vcnir con I' at! tesc,+ 35 

Non molto liingi, per volerne prendere. 

Lo Duca mio di subito mi presc, 

Come la madre | ch' aL ramorc h. desta, 
E vede presso a st^ le fiamme a.cccse, 

Che prende il figlio e fu^£« e non V arresta, 40 

Avendo piu di lui che di s6 cura> 
Tanto the solo una camicia vcBta i g 

*non compii di tat consigHo rendere. : This must be taken with 
the context in L 30 : — 

'^ S3 che d' intrambi un sol consiglio fei." 
From Dante's cogitationa and his own, Virgil had formed one 
single resolution, namely, of prompt flight. He did not have 
time to make manifeist to Dante what the aforesaid resolution 
(tal consiglia) was, before the sudden appearance of the pur- 
suing Fiends obliged him to put it into immediate practice. 

f can i alt Use: Scarta^zini happily compares the motion 
of the Demons, running with outspread wing^ to that of 

|. 4/1 subito rni ^rt-sr, Cofuc la nmdr(, etc. ; Benvenuto points out 
the appropriateness of this simile. Dante, who often calls 
Virgil his father, on thia occasion, to 'show the intensity of 
Virgil's alTcctinnatc care for him, likens him to a mother, whose 
love for her children is greater than that of a father. 

^ non s' urreiiti . . . Taitto ckc solo una atmicia vista ; Trift- 
sino's paraphrase gives an exact explanation of the idiom 
here : " Non indugia tanto tempo quanto ne occorrc per porai 
indo&3o solamente una camicia^ ma fugge tal quale ritrova»t." 
Some few translators have rendered thtST " only so long a& to 
put on a single shift/' or '^insomuch that she only puts on a 
smock," But that i» only an English error, from some of our 

Canto XXIII. Readings on the Inferno. 


E gill d^l collo delta npa dura. 

Supin si dicde alia pendente roccia, 
Che 1' un dei lati all' aitra bolgia. tura. 45 

He had not yet firtished declaring this purpose, 
when nol very far off I beheld them coming with 
outspread wings with intent to seize us, My 
Leader instantly laid hold on me, even as a 
mother* who is awakened by the noise, and close 
to her sees the burning flames, who catches up her 
boy, and flies, and having more regard for him 
than for herself, tarries not even so lon^ as to slip 
on a shift : (thus did Virgil snatch hold of n^e), 
and from the summit of the rocky bank lei himself 
^lide down face upwards along^ the sloping cliff, 
which walls tn one of the sides of the next Bolgia, 

Both Benvenuto and Gelli, in commenting on the 
above passage, recall personal reminiscences of re- 
markable incidents, witnessed by themselves, of 
mothers saving their children. 

Dante^ to illustrate the rapidity of Virgil's descent, 
compares it to the impetuous course of a mill-race. 

The Poets reach the bottom only just in time to 
eacape from their infuriated pursuers, and Bnd them- 
scKes in the Sixth Bolgia, where the Hypocrites are 

North Europe stadcnts not understanding the habits of the 
races in hot countries ; and besides, the ht^ral sense of the 
Italian idiom is exactly aa Trissino puts it " The mother non 
t' srraia does not pause tanto even i»o long che solo Visla as to 
•lip on as much aB ana tamicia a shift." I'he words will not 
buf the other interpretation. But! says : '■'■ Ami iuggc nuda." 
Bscnrcnulo saw the like thing happen : " Imo, aicut ceo vidi in 
MM, absque accipcrc camisiam nee aliud velamen/ Lana; 
"Che non attcnde a ^-estirsi, nfr ad aUro fare ae non a sgam- 
pw cot brhuoio." And Gelli : " fugjt^e via ignuda, avettdo piU 
tmwm di tut, ch' ct non patiaca dat fuoco, the di sc itcssa, cioh 
dcflo cssrrc veduto i^nuda {ch* 1^ ^.osa motto vcrgognosa ap- 
fnamo le donncj." Lamcnnajs Iranslalca it very literally : " ct 
peian oe \' »nHe . . . ju)«]u'A se v^tir seulcment o unechemiGC." 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxiti. 

Nofi corse mai ai tosto acqua per doccia* 
A volger rota di molin terragno,t 
Quand* ella piii verso le pate % approccJa,^ 

*doccia : The Gran Dtzionarw says that doccia is a conduit 
or pipe made of tirra cotta, wood, or any nther material, 
through which water is made to run in a continuous stream. 
Donkin {£(ym. Diet.) gives the following derivations; *" Doc- 
ciare It. to doust, pour water on, substant. docciat Fr. doucMe, 
Sp. diicha, a spout, etc*, from ductkire: (ductus, as succtart from 
suctits. Cf, ductus = O* Fr^ duU \c-onduit\t Norm, doui, ttoia 
ductio, Prov. dots, O. Fr. dois^ whence rfwaiV, Engl, doaitf 
a spigot"; (see Murray's En^'i, Diet,), See a]so dwiettlui in 
Ducange. Compare Inf. xiv, 1 17, i r3 : — 

" Poi sen va giu per questa stretta doccia 
Infin Ik dove piO non &■ dismonta/' 

+ Molin terragno : This is explained by most of the Commen- 
tators to mean a water-mill built on land, to distinguish it 
from those attached to vessels floatrng on rivers, These last 
have neither conduit (doccia) nor mill-race {gora> to turn the 
miil-whccl, which is moved by the current. Bu( Buti, Landino, 
and Bargigi define the distinction more closely^ and say that 
fttHiino terragnn is an overshot mill, whercaa muiino fi^attctu^ is 
an under&hot mill. 

ipaU .* The primary meaning of pala in the Gran Dixionario 
ia an instrument made of different materials and dilTcrcnt 
shapes, which serves principally for shovelling minute sub- 
stances from one place to another, such as sand, grain, earth* 
snow, and such like; and more especially denotes the long 
wooden peel with which bakcra put bread into the oven. 
From this comes the secondary meanings namely^ that pan of 
a wheel fashioned like a paUt^ which makes the mill work 
{quella parte deita mota fatta a foggia di pala, cht fa votgrrt il 
muiina. Gran DixioHitriOy s.v. pttta., g 7). Buti adds that the 
Pule arc those things which receive the water, and malce the 
wheel turn. Therefore U pnk here are the float-boards, and as 
the water rushes down the conduit, it is running at its greatest 
speed when it is nearest tn the float-boards of the wheel 
(ijtitifid^ elUi pin vetso Ic pale approccia). Bargigi understands 
pale to be the sluice-gates which arc opened to admit the 
water to fall upon the wheel and make it revolve ; but thai i« 
not apparently the correct interpretation. 

g approccia : Compare /w/, xii, 46, 47 : — 

" Ma ficca gli occhi a valle ; cnft s* approccia 
La riviera del sangue," 
and sec my note on that passage^ 

Also Pufg, XX, 9. 


no XXIII, Readings on tfie Inferno. 


Come tl Maealro mio per quel vivagno^* 
Portandosene me sopra il sua petto. 
Come sua figlio, non come compa.gno< 

Appcna fur li pii^ suoi giunti at teCto 

Del fondo gii!l, ch' ei furono in »u] co]|e 
Sopresso noi : ma non gU era sospetto ; f 

Ch^ I' aha pro\'^'iden2a, che lor voUc 
Porre ministri dclla fossa quinta, 
Podcr di partirs' indj a, tutti totle-t 




* riwgmi T This properly means the edge or border ai a 
piece of ^lothf and in like manner the banks are the edjfes or 
borders of the bol^ia^ and Dante accordingly calEs them vivagni. 
Compare /«/. xiv, 121-123:— 

". . . Sc il preaente rifiagno 

Si deriva, cosi dal nostro mondo, 
Pcrch^ ci appar pure a questo vivapno ? " 
And Pmrgt Kjciv, 127, 12S :— 

*'S!, accostati all* un de* due vivagni, 
In Psr. ix, 1 jj-135, vivagni signifies the margins of parchment 
i_inan«»cript* : — 
|C ** Per questo V Evangelio e i Dottor magni 

^f Son derelitti^ e solo ai Decretal) 

P Si atudia, si che pare ai lor vivagni," 

f mo» gti sra sosfrttto : '* There was no need to fear.' GH is 
' for iigiu and it must be taken for vi or k'i, adv. ai place, and 
ii DfolMfaly derived from the Latin illic, whence come H and gH, 
jBSt Mi from iiliy dative of the Latin ille, came /i\ i^li, and 
finally gli, 
Cocnp«rc Purg. vtil, 68, 69;— 

** . . . coJui, che si nascotide 
Lo fiuo pfimo perche {:he non gli e guado." 
And Purg. xiii, 7 :— 

•• Ofnbra non gli i* ni segno che si paia." 
N.B.— Witic rcada It for glL 
Scaft&Mini Ba>'a that some read H, perhaps being unaware of 
die force of the particle gti : but il must be remembered that 
M^ixCcdica there were no accenta, and ii was always used 
by Cbe old writers for gH, I'or sosPfito in the sense of *' fear/' 
toatpare Im/, v, 1 3g : — 

" Soli cravamoj e aen^a akun sospetto." 
iPodtr di /martin' tmit a lutti tvlle : Scarta2/ini quotes the 
Wimriiig IMsuigc frnin Si. Ambrose: — 

"Siaepcnniwone Dei diabolum nocere non posse cognoscaa," 
II. Pi 

238 Readings on the Inftmo. Canto XXti!. 

Never ran water so swiftly along a conduit to turn 
the wheel of a land-mill when tt approaches nearest 
to the float-boards, as my Master glided down over 
that verge, bearing me with him on his breast, 
even as his son, not aa a companion. Scarcely 
had his feet reached the bed of the depth below^ 
when they (the Demons) were on the sammit above 
us ; but here there was no need to fear; because 
the Supreme Providence, which had decreed to set 
them as ministers of the fifth fosse, takes away 
from them all power of quitting it, 

Benvenuto observes that God "has set them their 
bounds which they shall not pass "\ He adds that 
the allegorical meaning of these last words is that 
Barrators have no influence or power of mischief out- 
side the Court to which they are attached, or outside 
their own particular office^ or against good and wise 
men who are unwilling to sojourn long in their com- 
pany, or to be mixed up in their corrupt practices : the 
passage is also intended to show the ^reat difficulty 
that there is in withdrawing oneself from the com- 
pany of such miscreants. 

Division IT. — A long train of muffled forms, ad- 
vancing with stow and mournful step, meets Dante's 
ga^e as he looks about him after his hurried descent. 
These are the shades of the Hypocrites, whose punish- 
ment it is to move continually onwards arrayed tn 
long, loose* ill-fitting, hooded cloaks, which though 
glittering on the outside with gold, are underneath 
heavy lead. The burden of their misery is so great, 
that they weep as they struggle along their weary 
path, scarcely able to lift one foot before the other. 
Benvenuto adds that the cloaU of Hypocrisy is one 

*antoSXTii. headings on the Ittfitno. 


of crushing weight and suffering to the wearer, who, 
under the stings of a guilty conscience, strives to 
palliate the vice that is within him, and to exhibit 
an appearance of virtue on the outside, a thing very 
difficult, and anyhow contrar}' to nature. Hard 
indeed is it to have to he constantly on the watch, 
lest in word or in deed, in demeanour or gesture, 
a man should unveil what he conceals so imperfectly ! 
Therefore Hypocrisy is an exceeding heavy burden, 
I which no one can ever lay aside, if he would success- 
fully carr>^ oat all its machinations. 
^^H Laggiil trovammo una gente dipinta,'*^ 

^^H Che giva intorno assai con lent! passi 

^^B Piangcndo, e nel scmbiante stanca ^ vinta,f 60 

^^P Egli avcan cappe can cappucci bassi 

Dinanxi agti occhi^ fatti della taglia 

*gfitte dtpinta : Scartazzini docs not think that dipinta rtfers 
to the g&mient& of the shades, which were gilded, not painted, 
but to their complexions. In Pur. xv, 112-114, Cacciaguida 
prAi&c:fi the wife ai Bcllincton Berli for not painting her face, 
m custom we are Left to infer, which had become gencriil with 
tbc women at Florence, and even with the men in the time oT 
Dante :^ 

" Bellincion Beiti vid^ io andarc cinto 

Di cuQLO e d' osso, e ventr dalLo specchio 
La donna sua senza i) viso dipinto." 
Compare also Mad. xxtii^ 27, 2^ i *"" Woe unto you, scribes and 
Pharisees, hypocrites ] for ye are like unto whitcd seputchrea, 
which indeed appear beautiftil outward, but are within full of 
dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even &o ye sIko 
outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are fuU of 
hypocrisy and iniquity." 

f vinta : This means '*oppfeSHed, overcome, enfeebled". 

Compare /«/ ill, jj:-*- 

*' E the gent' ^. chc par nel duol si vinta ? " 
Virgil uses the expression twjce in jEh, ivj first in I. 370:^ 

** Num lacrimas victus dcdit, aut miseratus amantem est? '* 
iftd L 474 :- 

* £f||;o» ubi concepit funas, evicta doiore,'^ etc. 


headings on ike Inferno. Canto XXliI. 

Che in Cologna* per li monaci fassi, 
Di fuor dorate son, t si ch' cgli abbagha ; 

Ma dentro tutte piombo^ \ e gravi tanto, 65 

Che Fedcrico le mcttea J^ di paglta, 

* in Cologna : Alt the old Commentators read Cofo^HA, andoi 
these the Anonimo Fionniino, the OtttnWy Lana, Laiidino, and 
the Chiose Anonhnc (ed. Selmi) relate the following story, after 
saying that the shades had on cloaks and hoods after the 
fashion of the monks at Cologne in Germany : " In this Abbey 
of Cologne, which in a very rich abbey, the monks, from their 
great wealth,, had become so arrogant and presumptuous, that 
by a formal resolution of their Chapter they sent to the Pope 
to obtain the privilege, thai in consequence of their dignity 
and importance^ and to distinguish them from all other monks, 
it might he specially decreed that they should be allowed lo 
wear scarlet robes, with silver girdles and spurs. The Pope, 
considering their pride and presumption, ordered instead that 
they should wear extremely common robes, fashioned like an 
ashen-grt;y hair shirt, ver>' long, and so ample, that they 
dragged along the ground behind them." The Chiose Anonime 
(ed. Selmi) differs from the others, in saying that the robes 
were so short that they did not touch the ground. Instead of 
i» Cologtia Wittc and PhiUildhts. read iu Ciugni, which would 
make Dante refer to the famous Benedictine Monastery of 
Cluny in Burgundy, twelve miles from Macon^ Some prefer 
this last reading because Cii^ in Ctugvi scans bettor than Che 
in Cvlogna ; but while Cttigni has very scanty MS. authority, it 
is probable that both Colngmi and Clitgnt were rcallj- intended 
for Cologne. Other jcadmgs are Coiognu Crugni, and one MS. 
reads CachcbgHi = Che a Coiogni, There is a Cologna in the 
Veronese territory, and some few Commentators contend that 
that is the place referred to. 

t Dijuor dorate soti : Brnnetto Latini {Fai'oUllo, cap. i, 25'28> 
in Nannucci's MamiaU ddla Ltittratxtra. vol. i, p. 47J) Jikena to 
gilded bronze those who put on the similitude only ol true 
friendship : — 

" Quest' amisli h ccrta, 

Ma della itua cQvcfta 
Va akuno ammantato, ^^ 

Come ramc dorato." ^^| 

{ tutte piomi/Of etc. : Compare Par, xnif 112-114: — ^^M 

" E questo ti sia semprc piombo ai piedi, ^^H 

Per farti mover lento, com' uom lasso, ^H 

Ed al st ed al no, che tu non vedi." 

g Feditkc it mettea, etc. : The same punishment ia said to 


]!anto XXIII. Readings on the Infertw. 


Down there we found a painted nmttitutie, who, 
weeping, moved around with very slow paces, and 
in appearance weary and overcome. They had 
mantles with hoods falling low before their eyes, 
^shioned with that cut that is made for the monks 
at Cologne. Outside they are so overlaid with gold 
that it dazzles one ; but within all lead, and so 
heavy, that (by comparison) Frederick used to put 
them on of straw. 

^f Un3Uthentica.ted tradition has accused Frederick 
TI of wrapping traitors up in lead and casting them 
into heated cauldrons. The Comento di Anonimo (ed. 
Lord V'ernon) says that the malefactors were monks 
and prelates; with their leaden cloaks covered to 
took like straw : " Lonperadore Federigho ad al- 
cbuno malefattore monaco fecie fare una cappa di 
pionbo e essa cappa fecie coprire si che parea di 
paglia e anche fecie fare chaldaie di pionbo nelle 
quail con diversi tormenti molti prelati e frati vi 
giastilio," etc. 
We must remember that Dante has not as yet 

Lvc been inflicted in Scotland, and is thus described in the 

BtfJidJ oj Lord Spain, in Scott' » Mittstrelsy of the Soittish Bordetj 
\y<t, J56 :— 

" On a circle of stones they placed the pol, 
On a circle of stones but barely nine ; 
Then heated it red and fitry hot, 

Till the burnished braaa did glimmer and shine. 
They rolled him up in a sheet of lead, 

A sheet of lead lor a funeral pall, 
And plunged bim Into the caldron red, 
And melted hini,— lead, and bones and all.'* 

pe also \GlQSi, s^v, Capa i'lumhea) quotes from a MS. 
ity on account oi one man yaying to another: " Se 
'iiudte lamt pere )c Fape savoit IVstat et la vie dont il vivalt, 
tile ferait mourir en la Chappc de plonc." 


J?eaJings on ike Inferno. Canto xxril. 

found out that the cloaks are of lead. To his eye 
they seem of gold. It is only after he has conversed 
with the Frail Godenii., that he understands what ls 
the penalty that so afflicts them (U, 97-102). 

Henvenuto thinks that every act of these Hypo- 
crites which Dante describes is intended to show 
some distinct act of Hypocrisy ; their painted faces ; 
their cloaks; their slow gait, which Hypocrites as- 
sume in order that they may seem to be grave and 
thoughtful; their down-cast eyes; and 6nally their 
tears. Benvenuto thinks the Hypocrite cries bitterly 
on purpose, like a weak little woman, in order that 
he may exhibit himself in the light of a pious and 
saintly man before the eyes of the public whom he 
deceives. '*And in fact 1 have actually seen a cer- 
tain noble Hypocrite, who when he was going to 
preach on the subject of the Passion of our Lord* in 
the morning drank himself into a maudlin state ^vitb 
much Malvoisie; and thus in sobs and tears be 
melted the wickedness of his mind, and incited many 
thousand persons to weep with him ; and by these 
artful delusions he managed in a very short lime to 
extract large sums of money from his dupes, with 
which he afterwards purchased a fat bishopric^ so 
that he converted the profits of Hypocrisy into 

The Poets had as usual turned to their left on 
entering this Boigia, and Danle now relates how im- 
possible it was for them to measure their steps so as 
not to outwalk any of the shades with whom they 
might wish to converse, lor these in the leaden 
garments could only move at a snail's pace. 



^anto XXIII. /headings on the !n/erno. 



O m etemo faticnso manto ! 

Noi ci volgemma ancor pure a man manca * 
Con loro insieme, intenti a\ tristo pianto; 

Mb per lo peso quelLa gent< stanca 70 

Venia si plan, che noi eravam nuovi 
Di compagnia ad ognl mover d' anca. 

O everlastingly wearisome mantle I We turned 
yet again to our left hand together with them, in^ 
tent on their sad lamentation : but by reason of 
their burden that weary people were moving on so 
slowly, that we were in fresh company at every 
movement of the hip {i.i. at every step). 

Benvenuto remarks that the Hypocrites were 
walking so slowly, that before they had comipleted 
one pace, Dante and Virgil had completed seven 
{anUquam fecis^ent nnum passum^ Danies ct Virgilius 
ftc€rant s£pUm)so that they were continually changing 

Diviiiof{ HI. — Dante asks Virgil if he can dis- 
tinguish any individuals in the slow procession, who 
were especialiy notorious as Hypocrites, His Tuscan 
•coent is at once detected by one of the shades, who 
rtrives in vain lo quicken his pace» telling the Poets 
he can give them the information they seek. 

*Piin a man manca : Tommas^o observer that going as the 
t«U do, always turning to their left after each descent, they 
nil, by the time ihcy reach the bottom of hell, have completed 
DC Circle round it. Compare !n/, si\s 124-127: — 
**. . . Tu sai che il luogo ^ tondoi 
li tutto che tu 611 venuto molto 
Pur a sinistra giix calando al fondo, 
Non 8c' ancor per tuito il cerchio volto/' 
ii»f. r\i), ji :— 

** Pcro sccndemmo alia dcstra mammella." 



^^^^^^234 /^fadings on the Inferno. Canto XXHI. 

^H Perch' io al Duca mio :— *' Fa che tu travi 
^^^^^^^^^_ Alcun zh* al fatio al Home si conosca, 
^^^^^^^B E gli occhj s! andando intcirna mavi/'«- 75 
^^^^^^^H Ed un che intcse la parola Tosca 
^^^^^^^H Dirctro a noi grJd6 : — "Tenete 1 picdi,* 
^^^^^^^V Voi che correte si per ]' aura fosca : t 
^^^^^^^H For^e ch' avrai da me quel che tu chicdi." — 
^^^^^^^^H Ondc II Duca si volse e dlsse : — " Aspctta, So 
^^^^^^^^1 E poi secondo il suo passa procedi."— 
^^^^^^^^^1 KiateLLi, e vidi due niostrar grari frclta 
^^^^^^^^1 Dell' anima, col viso^ d' esscr meco; 
^^^^^^^P Ma tardavagli il Ci^irco e la via siretta-^. 

^^^^V Whereupon I to my Leader: "Contrive to fliid 

^^^^1 some one who may be known by deed or by name, 
^^^^H and while thus going along, move thine eyes 
^^^^H around." And one^ who heard the Tuscan sp«<ech, 
^^^^H cried out behind us : *' Stay your steps, ye who 

^^^^H *Tf»ite i piedi : Compare jEn. v, 331, 332:-- 
^^^^K ^' Hie juveniSf jam victor ovans, vestigia presso 
^^^^V Haud tenuit titubata solo." ^_ 
^^^^H i r aura fosca : Compare Inf. iii, 2^-30: — ^^^H 
^^^^H «>■ Facevano un tumuHu, il qual s' aggira ^^^| 
^^^^H Semprc in queii' aria senza tempo tinta^ 1 
^^^^^r Come la rcna quando a turbo spira/* B 
^H^ { Dfli' attimo, col visa : This reading was found by Dr. MoorM 
^H in 170 MSS. In Textual Criticism, pp. 335, 336, he remark*' 
^H that a mere glance at the long list of variants— each \cry 
^H i^lenderly supported^ts quite sufficient, he thinks, to indicate 
^H the motive from which they onginatedt namely, the short- 
^H sighted habit of copyists of disregarding a construction that 
^H overflows the limits of a single line, and introducing supposed 
^H improvementH in a line looked at in complete isolation from 
^H the context. They did not observe that here gran /tttta l>t$> 
^B /* animtf form one idea, and that col viso is explanatory of m^)strAf\ 
^H ^h via ittildi : Some think it was owing to the cnormoul 
^H crowd of Hypocrites, and the unwieldy garb which they wort; 
^H that the path was said to be narrow. The primary meanin| 
^H oi strdio is "compreascdT tif^ht." Compare Iitf. xxsia, 41, 4*:— • 
^^M " , . , vidi due ^i stretti [so crowded together']. 
^H Che Jl pel del capo avieno insieme misto. 

Canto XXTTE. Readings on the Fnfcnw. 


speed so swiftly through the dusky air : perchance 
thou mayest obtain from me that which thou» 
askest." Whereat my Leader turned round and 
said : '' Wait (for him), and then move on at his 
paceJ* I stopped, and saw two, who in their faces 
showed great haste of mind to be with me; but 
the load and the crowded way delayed them. 

Bcnvenuto points out that the Poets stood still, and 
waited for the shades, but that they did not render so 
much honour to " the reverend lord friars (dominis 
fniribus rfvcrendh)" as to turn back to meet them, 
although they were so bravely arrayed in golden 

The Hypocrites, on reaching the Poets, are unable 
to control their astonishment at seeing neither Dante 
nor Virgil attired like themselves, and perceiving that 
Dante is alive. 

Quando fur giunti, assai con V occhio bieco B^ 

Mi rimiraron * acn^a far parola; 
Hoi si volscro in s^, c dicean s,tco i 
—*• Cestui p»r vivo all* alto della gola : + 

E s' ei son morti, per qual privilegio 

Vanno scoperti della grave stola ? *^ — { 90 

'fon r ocfhio buco A/i nmiraron ; The hca^'y hoods on their 
\tidfn cowls prevented their turning their heads to look at the 
P»^rvin5 walkinq bcsidt them. Hcnvtnuto remarks also that 
ijic aicrtcd planet is peculiarly descriplive of Hypocrites. 

^ far vivo ttii' atiti itdla ^oU : They perceive by Dante's re?>- 
airiTion that he in alive. The same thing occurs when he first 
tern a band of spirits on the shore of Purgatory. Sec 
It, 67-69 : — 
" L' animc chc si fur di tnt: accorte, 

Per lo ■spirnrc, ch' io era ancof \ivo. 
Maravig,liando tlivcntaro smorte." 

^ I ; This was a long vcsturu coming right down from the 

bndloihe fci:!, worn by men among the Greeks, and bv women 
^ihc Koinana (Di Siena). It is uatd here in a gcn*:raV 


Readings ott the hifemo. Canto jociilj 

When they had come up, Ihey gazed long at mc 
with eyes askance without uttering a word: then 
turned one lo the other, and said a-mon^ them* 
selves: "This one by the action of his throat 
seems lo be alive: and if they are (both) dead, 
by what privilege do ihey go uncovered by the 
heavy stole ? " 

After this short conference among themselves* the 
Hypocrites address Dante ; and an interchange of 
questions passes between them as to their respective 
identity. Dante tells them he is a Florentine, 

Poi dtsscr mc : — " O Toaco, ch' al coUegio * 


\ irom 


sense for any kind of dress^ and, in a Agurative unsc, to signify 

the monastic habit. Contrast with the C4ippt ranee (I. too); 

the coik^io (I. 91) and deUa gravt sfoia [I. 90J the following from 

Par. xxXt 124-739: — 

'^ Nel giallo della rosa Bcmpitcrna, 
Che ai dilata, digrada e redole 
Odor di loiiic al sol chc sempre vcrna, 
Qual ^ colui che tacc e dicer vuole» 

Mi trapse Beatrice, e disse : "^ Mira 

Quaiito e il convento dclle btanche stole 1 '* 

* colUgio : t have not translated this "college," which in iM 
modern English application refers usually to a place of educa- 
tion, Blanc translates jt, "/a compagnit^ rassembif*, U trou/^ 
Jit GeselJscka/i, die Vcrsammlung^^der l-iau/i." The Italian Com- 
mentaLtors explain, it as the place where are gathered togethcf 
{iolUcti from (oUig^ri) all the Hypocrites in the world. In /i^ 
iii, 134, I7J, Virgil says to Dantc about the general eotlectioo 
of all the damned m Hell: — 

' QuL'lli ehc muoion ncti' ira di Dii 
'lulti convecnon qui d^ oeni naea 

convegnon qui d^ ogni pacse*" 
In the modern Italian Parhamenl colUgio is the word for 
constituency. Compare Purg. xxvj, 127-119 : — 
"Or 9c tu hai si ampto privilegio, 

Chc licito ti sia I'andare al chiostro 
Nel quale h Crista abate del collegio/' 
Dr. Moore tells me he thinks coW^o must be chosen here m 
reference lo Fruti GotieHti. 

Canto XKUU R^ading^ on the Infirno. 237 

Degr ipocriti tristi * se' venutn, 

Dir chi lu sei + non avcre in dispregio.** — 

Ed io a loro ; — " lo fu) nato e crcaciuto 

Sopra il bel fiumc d' Arno I alia gran villa, ^ 95 
E son col corpo ch' i' ho serapre avuto. 

Ma voi chi BietCt a cui tanto distilU, || 

'»jtefn/( trtsti : Compare ^att. vi, 16: " Moreover, when ye 
M, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance : for they 
dufigurc their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast/' 

^ Dir chi tit 3«', etc. : Compare Inf. xvi, iS-j?, where Jacopo 
Rurticucci says to Dante : — 

'* E se miscria d" csto loco aollo 

Rende jn dispctto noi e noetri preghi, 
. . - c it tinto aspetto e brollo ; 
La fama nostra it tuo animo picghi 
A dime chi tu se\ che i vivi piedi 
Coal sicuro per lo inferno freghi." 

l&Ara it bel fiumc X Amo : Lubin gives the order of the sen- 
idKotia : *' lo fui nato c cresciuto alia gran cittade {vilta) sita 
~ iQ bel fiume d' Arno." 

f lUa^fdH villa : Villa is the old Italian word for cittA, and 
l<lKre means Florence, to which Dante also refers as his place 
(birth ajid growth in Cohv. i^ 3, II. 20-28 : " Poich^ fu piacere 
" citladini dclla bcUissima e famosissinia figlia di Roma, 
orcnza, dt gettarmi fuori del suo dolcissimo scno, nel quale 
to e nudrilfi fui hno al calmo delLa mia vita, c nel quale, con 
bwna pace di qyelli, desidero con tutto il cuore di riposare 
Tuinno stance, e terminare il tempo che m' h dato,"etc. Scar- 
Uizini draws attention to the tender affection of the exile for 
h» country in such expressions as here, it bd pu»H d' Arno; in 
V. nx, 17, NH mio bel San Giovanni; and in Par^ xxv, 5, eUt 
*mo "vit, dffii' io dormii agnelh. 

'■■'U . , . doior . . . per Is guatii^e : Disiiilan h the same 
■ .'c a stilU^ ij.^ "to fall drop by drop." Compare Petrarch 
?tfl I, Batlata j :~ 

*^ Per lagrimCf ch' io spargo a milie a mtlle, 
Convien che '1 duol per gli occhi si distilte 
Dml cor, c' ha seco le faville e 1' esca, 
Non pur qual fu« ma pare a me che cresca." 
**4 Tanu, Ctfus. Libfr. Canto iv* st. 76 : — 

' Ma II chiaro umor, che di si spes^e stiUe 
L-e belle gote e i] seno adorixo rendc," etc 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxm. 

Quant' io veggio, dolor * giii per le guancc, 
E che pcna h in voi che si sfavjlla ? " — t 

Then said they to me 3 " O Tuftcan, who art come 
to the community of the miserable Hypocrites, do 
not disdain to tell who thou art," And I to them : 
*' ] was born and grew up in the great city on 
Arno's fair river, and am with the body that I 
always had. But j'ou, who are yc, from whom 
so many tears, as I see, trickle down your cheeks, 
and what punishment is it which so glitters upon 
you ? " 

One of the Hypocrites replies, and begins by 
answering Dante's second qaestion as to the nature 
of their punishment, which Dante cannot in the least 
comprehend. He then answers the first questioili 
and tells Dante their names and profession. 

E t' un rispose a me : — " Le cappe ranee | fOO 

Son di piombo si grosse che li pesi 
Fan coai cigolar le lor bilance.^ 



*dohy ■ ■ . disiilia: Far dchf En the sense af tears, compare 
Inf. xvii, 46 :- — 

" Per gli occhi fuori scoppiava lor duoto." 
Tasso (Gertts. Liber. Canto jv, si. 77; speaks of Armida 
weeping :— 

*^ Questo finto dolor da molti elice 
Lagrime vere, e i cor piu duri apctra.'* 

fs/aviUa : Benvcnulo translates this apparet. Hafgigi think* 
it refers to the artificial make-up of the Hypocrites' face% (tht 
si moitra per f^ii ncchi s/avillanli c ptr k guance rpiw). t)i Sicna 
remarka that if sfavilla refers In the aparkling of the golden 
mantles, (hen this sparkling punishment ipena i/avtUttnU) i* 
equally worthy of crime covered under the veil of virtue. 

I rartce : Mr, Tozer Bays this comes from a Latin form 

§ Fan cost cigotar te lor hilanu : He means : " Our Limbs are 
the scales that bear these weights, which are so heavy that 
these limbs of ours bend down under them, and, a& it were, 
groan under the burden. Casini paraphrases thia: " Le 
tappe, doratc al di fuori, sono di ptombo all' intcmo e tanto 

Canto xsjn. Reading on ike Inferno. 239 

Frati Godenti* fmnwo, e Bolognest, 

jETfMse che il loro peso ci fa piangere, come \\ cairico eccess&ivo 
& cigoUr le bilancc." For cigoiare see the word tn Donktn'fi 
£tym. Diet.: '* Cigoiare It., scivoian, to creak; from sibiUirf. 
Compare Venetian cigare, to creak : It. cwgoidire, to chirp. 
These may all be onomatopoea." Compare In/, x'm, ^o-^^t 
ivhere Dante uses the word to express the hissing of the sap 
in a piece of green wood thai is on fire : — 

*^ Come d' un stiz^o vcrde, che arso sia 

DaU' un de' capi, che dalJ^ attro geme, 
E cigola per vento che va via," 
Frati Godenti : The nanne of an Order of Chivalry, both 
niililary and conventual,, called ^' The Knights of St. Mary 
(Onl^ MiUtiae Btatcu Maria£>f said tn have been founded at 
Bftlagna tn 1^6% or 1261, under the sanction of Urban IV, the 
object of which waK ostensibly to protect widows^ orphaois, 
strangers, the poor, and, speaking generally, the weak against 
tbnr oppressors ; also to make peace between the contending 
{jictioDs in the different cities of Italy, and to reconcile family 
frttd». They were nicknamed Frati GoJentit or Gaude»ti, on 
accoont of the easy life of pleasure that the laxity of their 
ffvles permitted. They possessed numerous privUegcR, such 
ftS the permission to marQ' and live in their own homes, im- 
■laDfty from military service, and from the duty of having to 
fill 4Uiy municipal post. At a time when Florence was torn 
aMBuSer by the (cuds ol Guelphs and Ghibellincs, (he govern- 
aacal ol the State called in two of these Frali Ginieftti, the one 
IC««Aer Lodenngo dcgli AndalA, a Ghibeliine, and the other 
Mcwer CatalaDo Catalini, a Guelph, to All the ofTice of Pode^it^ 
coojomlly ; but a& soon as they were in power, they allowed 
tbentMlvca to bt corrupted by the GuclpK party, and the 
Ghibctlinc» were driven out of the city. 

Bcnvcnuto aaya they possessed the principal monaaterv in 
the BologncK territory at a place called Castello dci Britti. 
Rut whether it was on account of the life of luxury they led, 
or that they lived in their own houses and had wives and 
duldren, and enjoyed various privileges and immunities, ccr- 
tAia It is, that out of ridicule they acquired the name oi Fratt 
G^dnti From Boccaccio, Muratori, and Federici (Sioria dti 
CMiaiMn Godenti), Di Siena collects the foElowing additional 
wIh luatton : " For the better understanding of this passage 
yoa RiDi't know that the three noble knights, Lodertngo degii 
Aiidal6, Uniamonte de' Caccianimici of Bologna, Kinicn degli 
Adclanli of Modena, and Siracco da Reggie, obtained from 
Urban IV, the authorisation to found a new Order of 

Readings on the Inferno. Canto XXIII. 


lo CaUlano, e questi Loderingo * 
Nomali, e da tua terra insieme presi 105 

Come suole esser preso un uom solingo 
Per conservar sua pace, e fummo tali 
Ch' ancor at pare intorno daJ Gajdingo."^ t 

Knighthood under the title of VOrdin^ delta Vitgine madre 
M&ria, they themscWea being styled MUiki DomtHog^ or sotdati 

dHla yiaiionna. Their new ru]e required of them that ihcy 
should only bear arms in the service of the Church ; that they 
should defend widows and minors, as well as poor and d?f<nec- 
less persons if unjustly persecuted ; that they should hold no 
public office except for the purpose of promoting peace and 
union at such times as war and civil discord prevailed."" Giov. 
Villani (vii, cap. t^) gives a long account of these two Fr^i 
Godiitdt and ends by saying of them: ^'such confidence was 
felt in the character of the Order, that it was bcheved they 
would be impartial ic-omuni)^ and would save the city any un- 
necessary expense; but they, although inclined to opposite 
parties, under cover of false n^'pocrisy, concurred in promoting 
ihcir own acquisition of wealth rather than the public weal." 

*CataUino . . . Lodiringo : Of them we read in BcnvenUto*. 
" But these accursed hypocritcBn corrupted by the Guclphs so 
governed the Republic, that through their schemes, the Ghibel- 
lines were driven out, and their palaces burned and sacked bv 
the opposite faction, and in particulax those of the Ubcrti, 
which were situated in the street that was called the Guar< 
dingo or Gardingo. . . . But retribution never fails to come 
speedily. For Lodcrtngo the Gbibcllinc, through whose in 
strumentality the GhibeHtne nobles of Florence were banished 
and their palaces destroyed, was eventually banished hinnself 
from Bologna, with his companions and othcrGhibcltine nobles^ 
and their palaces were utterly demolished ■ the ruins of which 
arc still to be seen at Bologna, hard by the Law Srchool*. 
And the palaces of Catalano were also utterly destroyed ; nor 
does any trace of them remain, except one very high tower, 
which is frequently struck by lightning," 

t GardiTigo : This was a s^trcet in old Florence, near the 
Pala^io Vecchio, where the Church of San Fircn^ie now ^ 
stands* Giov. ViJlani (i. cap. j8) writes: "Some say that it J 
[the Capitol of Florence] stood where now ia the Guardingr 
close by the Piazza which is now called • Del Popolo *. . . 
GuArdingo was later on the name given to the remains of «al 
and arches that were left in ruins after Ihe destruction of tt 
city by Totila ; and in more recent limes the proBtitutes u» 
lo live there," 

LTito XKiu. Readings on the Inferno. 241 

And one of them answered nie : *' These orange 
cowls are of lead, so thick, that their weights 
make the scales thus to creak. We were Frati 
iinudenti (^(^ Jolly Friars)tand Bolognese; named, 
t Calalano, and he Lodedngo, together chosen by 
Iby ciiy (Florence) as one man alone is usually 
selected (to be Podesta) to maintain its peace, and 
such were we, that even now (the proof of what 
we were) is to be seen round the Gardingo.'* 

Division IV. — Dante has opened his lips, not, says 
Benvenuto, for the purpose of uttering words of com- 
passion (as some have thought^ who interpret mali 
as a substantive meaning; '* sufferings "), but^ on the 
contraT>', to upbraid them with the fact that their 
evil deeds {voj&tri mali . . . supply faUi) had caused 
suffering to so many. He has got thus far, when 
his speech is arrested by a spectacle so strange, that 
the words die off in the act of utterance. His eyes 
rest upon the crucified form of Caiaphas the High 
Priest, the Prince of the Hypocrites, whoj as they 
advance along their weary path upon which he lies 
stretched out, trample him under their feet* Cata- 
lano then tells Dante that in other parts of this 
Bolgia, there lie crucified, Annas, as well as the 
other members of the Sanhedrim, who w^re the 
caase that our Lord was condemned to die by cruci- 

To caminciai : — "O fratt, J vostri mali . . ," — 

Ua p'tii non diasi : ch' &\\* occhio mi corae * no 

* «jr ocnlw iwf carw ; Benvrnuto renders this; {jccurnt spau- 
imtimu MMf, etc. One meaning of the Latin occurrere 19 "to 
pr tjcat itaclf '* to the eye, to the mind^ frtc. I have therefore 
1 the patsagc: '* there w«s presented tu my eyc,^' 

242 Readings on the Inferno. 

Un, crocifisso in terra * con Ire pati. 

Quando mi vide, tulto si distorse + 
SofHando ne]la barba coi sospiri : 
E il frate Catalan ch' a citi s' accorsc^ J 

Mi disae;— "Quel conficto che tu niiri 
Consiglife i Farlsei, che convenia 
Poire un uom per lo popolo a* martin.§ 

Attraversato e nudo h nelEa via, 

Came tu vedi, ed ^ mcstiet ch' ei acuta 
Qualunque passa com' ei pesa pria : 

Ed a ta] modo il suocero II si stenta ^ 

* Uh, crocijisso in terra : Di Siena points out the contrast of 
this cruclBxian with that of Christ, VVho was lifted up on high 
on the summit of Golgotha, and drew to Kimstrlf the eyes of 
all the world. Caiaphaa lies on the ground, and has id bear 
the weight, not of one leaden cloak, but of all the hypocrisy 
that there is in Hell. 

ftutta SI disttfTse : Compare Inf, xi%, 64 :^ 

" Per che lo spirto lulto storse i piedi," 
and see my note upon the adverbial use of tuiio^ Tommas^ 
attributes this writhing on the part of Caiaphas to the fear of 
having a living body trampling on him^ but Scarta22tni pointis 
out that the leaden cloaks would be a far more unbearable 
weight than that of Dante's body. The meaning more prob- 
ably is that Caiaphas writhed with vesation ; panting and 
sighing at the thought that a living Christian should sec hint 
in such a plight ; should trample him under his fectf and per- 
chance tell the talc of his shame in the world above. 

I a cio i* mcorse : Compare Petrarch, Trionfo tV Am&rr, Cmp. 
II, 123-135, where a similar form with the ellipsis occurs: — 
" E se non fosse la discreta aita 

Del fisico genttl. che ben a' accorse, 
L' eti sua in sul fiorir era forcita." 

§ convftiia Porrc un ttom ptr lo popoio a* martiri : Compare /oJbi 
xviii, 14: ^' Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel ta thej 
Jews;, that it was expedient that one man should die for 

\\iuoceroi Compare yoAfl xviii, 13: "They led him away to 
Annas first ; for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, which vaa^ 
the high priest that same year,'' 

^ $i ilenta ; Although Benvenuto and Biati explain thai the^ 
shade ■» lying stretched out, extended, the overwhvlmtng 


^^ntoxxrti. Readings on the Inferno, 



[n questa foBEa, e g]i altn del concilio 
Che fii per li Giudci mala sementa-." — * 

I began: "O Friars, your wicked . . ." but said 
no more: inasmuch as there was presented to 
my eye one crucified on the ground with three 
stages. When he saw me he writhed all over, 
breathing heavily into his beard with sighs; and 
Friar Catalano, who perceived this, said to me: 
" Thai transfixed one (Caiaphas), at whom thou 
art gazing, counselled the Pharisees that it was 
eKp<;dicnt to put one man to torment for the 
people. He is laid across the road, and naked 
as thou seest, and he has first to feel, whoever 
passes, how much he weighs : and in like manner 
hjs father-io-law (Annas) is tormented in this 


oiijority of Ihe Commentators understand it to mean "ia 
iormcnted." Donkin {Eiym, Diet.) says that tt is derived 
fiom abstentare a form of ahitincre^ "to abstain, to be hungry, 
tube in need, to be in hardship, and hence to be in tormcnl." 

* nutU icvycntu ; The innocent blood of our Lord shed upon 
cross *a» the seed, and the fruit of it was the destruction 
oC Jerusalem by Titus. Compare Mutt, xxvijj 34, 25; ^'Pilate 
' ■ . took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, 
*»ytnp, I am innocent of the blood of this jusl person : see 
ye to It. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood 
^ nn U&, and on our children." Dante alludes to the dcsiruc- 
*ioi» o{Jeru»alcm in Purg. xxi, 82-84 '* i" Par. vi, 91-93 ; and at 
K'ltt length in itcady the whole of the seventh Canto of the 
rwa^, and more especiaUy in U, +O-51 :— 
*' Per6 d"^ un atto uscJr cose diverse ; 

Ch' a Dio ed ai Giudei piacque una morte: 
Per Ici treni6 la terra c il ciel s' aperse. 
Non ti dec oramai parer piu forte, 

Quando si dice che giusla vendetta 
Poacia vcngiata fu da giusta corte." 
^ I'lce manner^ the assasnnation of Buondelmonte by Mosca 
"'"i othcrSf js spoken of in Inf. xxviii, 106-10S, as the seed 
'id) bore fruit in the Guclph and Ghibelline factions : — 
**. . . Ricordcra' tt anche del Moaca, 

Che dissi, lasso ! 'Capo ha cosa fatta,' 
Che fu il mal seme per la gente tosca." 
It. Q 2 

^4 Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxiii. 

fo5se» and the others of the Council which was 
for the Jews the seed of evil [i.e. the source of 

In Inf. ix * we are told that Virgil had paid a pre- 
vious visit into the lower regions of Hell. It would 
seem that on that occasion Caiaphas had not yet been 
doomed, and Virgil is lost in astonishment at seeing 
him here now.f Besides Virgil was unacquainted 
with the Gospel story. 

Allar vid' io maravigliar Virgitio 

Sopra colui ch' era disteao in croce J 115 

Tanto viLment^ neir eterno esilio. ^ 

* Inf. ii, 32-371 — 

" Ver ^ ch' altra, fiata quaggifi fui, 

Con^iurato da quetl' Eriton cruda 
Che richiamava ]' ombre a' corpi sui, 
I>i poco era di me la carnc nudaj 

Ch' e]]a mj fece entrar dentro a quel muro, 
Per Irarne un spirto del cerchio di Giuda^" 
+ Benvenuto thinks that Virpl, although in ignorance^ ycX 
made a marvellous prophecy, which however, he did noi him- 
self understand {lam tnirahiliter quanx i^noranUr prophttti^xt^ non 
inteiiigeni s£ ip&um\ and which applies exactly to what Caiaphas 
said, that it was expedient that one man should die for the 
people. The allusion is probably to Ain, v^ S14, S15: — 
" Unus cril tantum, amissum (]uem gurgiti; i|UACTct ; 
Unum pro multis dahiiur caput." 
I dhUso in crpcc : Blanc ( Voc. Dant.) cites this passage^ and 
saya it ought to be translated " cten4u par Urre (ommi un 
crucijii, wit ein Gtkreuzi^tr hinges.tr4ckt" 

g etcrno tsUio : Compare Horace, 2 Curm, iii, 25<3ii :— 
"OmncBcodem cogimur : omnium 
Versalur urna *erius ocyus 

Sora exitura, et nos in aeter- 

-num Exilium impositura cymbae.'* 
Heaven is the true country of the Christian, and the lost arc 
eternally banished from their heavenly home. Compare Hibr. 
xi» I4'i6, and Htbr. siiif 14. 

Canto XXIII. Reading& on tkt Jnfirno. 245 

I Then saw I Virgil marv^el over him who was ex- 
' tended so ignominiously as one crucified in the 
eternal banishment (of Hell). 

The poets now prepare to quit the Bolgia of the 
Hypocrites, and Virj^il asks Catalano if he and his 
comrade can point out an easy way for them to do 

PoBciadriz^o al frate cotal voce 

— " Noti vi disptaccia, se vi lece, * dirci 

Se alia man destra + ^'ace aicuna foce, 
Onde noi ambcdue possiamo uscirci 150 

Scnza cD&tringer deglL angeli neri^ 
Che vegnan d' esto fondo a dipartirci," — 

Ailcrwards he addressed this speech to the Friar : 
*' Let it not displease you (two spirits), if it be 
lawful for you, to tell us if on the right hand there 
hes any opening by which wc may both of us issue 
forth (from this Bolgin] without constraining any 
of the Black Angels {i.t\ the Demons) to come 
and extricate us from this depth.'' 

Vtrgil is anxious to ascertain the truth of the in- 
formation Malacoda gave him in Canto xxi, in, 

* u vi terf; I do not apprehend that this ia an instance of 
Dante addressing a personage ol^ distinction in the second per- 
«oa plural with t'l as a inark of deference, hut rather that he 
meant to say " let it not displease you and your comrade (i'.c9At.s) 
to tell UK tf ye may lawfuJly do so, if," etc., etc. Benvenuto 
cvidenUy understands it so. He aays : " sc vi Utc, idest, si 
hcilnm rat vobia dicere, . . . quasi dicat : si potestia absque 
offeitdcrc regtilam vcstram, vel sanctam obcdientiam." 

f mUs man destra : The Poets when thry descended into this 
Bolgi^ having turned tn their left, the opening they now seek, 
by which to pass out into the next Boigia, would naturally be 
on their right. 

I miif[*li ntri : Compare /»/, xxvii. 112-114;— 
" Franccscn vcnne poi. com' io fui morto, 
Per me ; ma uti de' neri Cherubim 
Gti diBBc : * Mon portar ; non mi far torto. ' " 


/headings on the Infevfw. Canto xxiii. 

when he said presso e un altro scogtio che via fact. 
Virgil, however, is careful to put his question in 
guarded language^ as is only right and seemly, says 
Benvenuto, when one has to converse with Hypo- 
crites, who maintain an affected reticence. So V'irgil 
says ironically ; '* Pray tell us., if ye may do so 
without infringing the regulations of your Order, to 
which we know ye render such saintly obedience ? " 

The Friar puts them in the right wayj and they 
learn that there is in very truth another bridgc> just 
where Matacoda told them they would find it, but that 
(as he had not told them) it is broken down. 

Kispose adunque:^" PiCi che tu non speri* 

S' appressa un sasso, che dalla gran cerchia + 
Si movci e varca | tutti i vallon feri, Ijs 

* ip^ri ; Sperare here has the Kense of " to think, to suKpect, 
to expect, Id await.'' See Blanc {Voc. Dant.), and the I'ocab. 
dtlla Cru&£a (Manuzzi) ^^^ where we find that in the present 
passage the word is interpreted '■^ aspettare." Petrarch iPajt i, 
Sestiua vii) uses it also in that sense:— 

'* Di di in di spero omai I' ultima sera, 

Che scevri in me dal vivo terren I' onde 
E mi lasci dormir in qualche piaggia." 

igran rtrckia : The dififerencc between cerchio "ft circle,* 
andcfrrAirt"a line of circumvallation, cnceinU" has already 
been discussed with reference to /«/. xviit, 72, whefe it js 
pointed ou( that ijxttlh ctrchit etcrnc refer to the great chain of 
clifJa which begird the whole of Makbolgc, and at the foot of 
which Geryon set the Poets down. Cerchia never inrans a 

I varcn : Tommasio observes that this is not the onty brid^< 
way, but the neart-st. It must be remembered that *c ha%*c 
adopted the view held by Blanc, 'I'Dmmasio, BlagioU and 
Scartazzinif that there were a number of bridge-ways running 
across the Boii^e from the Gran Cenhia to the Polio, like the 
spokes of a wheel. PhilaUthes thinks there would be ten, as 
there arc ten Doi§e. 

!antoxxtii. Readings on the Inferno. 


Salvo ch' a, queato e rotto, e nol copcrchia : 
MonUr potrele su per la ruina, 
Che giace in costa^ e nel fondo aoperchia."— * 

WTiercupon he answered : ** Nearer than thou sua- 
pecteat there is a bridge*way, which juts oMi from 
the vast encircling chff, and spans all these cruel 
valleys, save that in this one it is broken down, 
and does not run over it ; ye will be able to 
clamber up by the mass of ruins that slopes 
against the side, and rises in a heap upon the 

Oti hearing this, Virgil comprehends Malacoda's 
deceptive directions ; and his indignation and shame 
at having been duped are such, that for a (ew seconds 
he cannot utter a word. He then expresses his an- 
noyance in somewhat bitter words, but the Friar 
retorts that the mendacity of a Demon is so well 
known* that he ought not to have believed him, 

Virgil is anything but pacified by this homily, and 
strides away in great wrath, Dante follows him, and 
they direct their steps towards the heap of debris 
by which they are going to climb out of the Bolgia. 

Lo Ducjt stette un poco a testa china, 

Poi diwe ; — " Mai contava la bisogna t 140 

Colui, che i p«ccator dt U unctna." — 

I *mfi/amh to^trckitt : Compare fn/^ xVi, 7-9, where Dahtc de- 
•cribcB a possible means of dE-sccnt by the mina pf the tliff 
Sit had been overthrown by the earthquake : — 
" Che da cima del montc, onde si mosse, 
Al piano ^ si ta roccia discosccsa^ 
Ch' alcuna via darcbbe a chi au fosse," 
+ J« biic^na : Nanitucd (Ttorica de' Nomu p. 340) derives this 
rord from the Old French bisottgftc, and besides the present 
putage quotes from the Provencal ^^ork of Vita de B^rtrand de 
Bcrm : •• fe '1 psiirc { fat h4'r] It dava ccrta liuraiion dc deniers per 
-rianda e per so que besoigna \' era.'' 

248 Readings on the Inforno. Canto xxill. 

E )] frate :— " lo udi' gi& dire a Bologna * 
Del Diavol vizii ass^i, tra. i quail udi' 
Cb' esU ^ bugiardot c padre di menjrogna." — 

Appresao il Duca a gran passi sen gl, X 145 

Turbalo un poco d' ira nel sembJanle: 
Ond' 10 dagl' incarcati mi parti' 

Dietro allc poste dctle care piante. 

My Leader stood for a while with head bent down, 
then said : " III related that matter he (Malacoda) 
who hooWs up the sinners yonder.'' And the 
Friar : "In former days at Bologna I used to hear 
tell of vices enough of the Devil, among which I 
heard that he is a liar, and the father of lies." 
My Leader then walked away with great stride*, 
somewhat disturbed with anger tn his mien : 
whereupon I (also) departed from the heavy-laden 
(spirits), following in the traces of the beloved feet. 

Benvenuto remarks that Virgil bowed his head in 
indignation and shame, when he thought that a 
Barrator had duped him, and that a Hypocrite had 
put him right. Malacoda wanted to retain Virgil in 
the toils, for it is the common practice of Barrators 
to detain men within the precincts of the Court 

*udi' ^i^ dire a Bob^na : ScaTtaz?ini thinks that Catalans 
must have heard this when studying at Bologna under the 
great masters of Scholastic Theology. 

i bugiiirdo : Compare John viii, 44: "Ye arc of your father 
the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. ' He was a 
murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, be- 
cause there was no truth in him. When be ^peaketh a lie, he 
speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and (he father of it/' 

In f^ruft f>assi un gi : Homer {Odyss, xi, 53S-540) describes 
the shade of Achilles striding grandly away, gratified at the 
news of his son's renown :— 

0niVa fiaxpa ^ifiatrn, mot' aatfimitXiiv Xttfio^va, 


*aiitoxxiii. /headings on the Inferno. 


where they have influence. Benvenuto mentions 
an incident which Petrarch (his intimate friend) wit- 
nessed at Avignon: "Two Cardinals, surrounded 
by a nunnerous retinue, Vi^ere coming out from the 
Pope's audience- At the gate were awaiting them 
many petitioners, with which that city (Avignon), 
detestable in the sight of God, is always filled. 
These, when they saw their patrons, or to speak 
more correctly, their betrayers, from whom they 
had great expectations, commenced a clamour round 
them, each asking what success his petition to the 
Pope had met with. Whereupon one of the two 
Cardinals, without the smallest embarrassment at 
the suddenness of the questions, perfectly callous to 
ihc misfortunes of these unhappy persons, untouched 
by any shame on his own account, and a perfect 
master of deceit, began to give an answer to each 
in turn, as to what chances he had, as to what the 
Pope had answered touching his particular business, 
and in such manner with the most shameful effron- 
tcf)* got rid of one after the other ; some going away 
with happy faces, and some in deep dejection, accord- 
ing to what answer they had each received. There- 
upon the other Cardinal, more noble by nature, and 
with greater compunction of conscience, and who, 
had he not belonged to the College of Cardinals, 
ini|;ht really have been a good man, turned to his 
colleague and said in jest : ' Are you not ashamed to 
delude poor people in that way^ and at your caprice 
lo invent the answers of the Pope, whom as you 
know, we have not only not seen to-day, but have 
been unable to sec for several days past ? ' But 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxrii. 

that hoary old Barrator replied : ' Are you not 
ashamed rather, to have such dull wit, as to have 
been so long a time without learning the customs of 
the Court ? ' When the bystanders heard this, they 
all burst out laughing, and extolied the retort of 
that old rascal, and said he must be a person of the 
greatest sagacity and intelligence, who had learned 
how to Ue and deceive with such readiness. But 
when Petrarch, who was there, heard this, he wzs 
struck with amazementj and bowed his head, with 
no less indignation and wrath, than did Virgil, when 
he detected the fraud of Malacoda," 


Canto 3DCIV. Readings on the Inferno. 





In this Canto and the next Dante relates the punish- 
ment of Thieves, who, according to the definition of 
the Anottimo Fiorentino^ are divided into two classes. 
T hose whose robberies were sacrijegious are spokenf *^^^ 
o fjn the present Canto, w^ilft thp p^rnl iar torments^—^ 
of the other class, which comprise all other kinds of 
Thieves, are recounted in Canto xxv. 

R envenutfi divides the Canto into four parts. 

Jrri7i£wJ,-from ver. i to ver. 60, Dante describes 
the abatement of Virgil's wrath, the toilsome ascent 
by the ruins of the broken bridge, by means of which 
the Poets quit the Sixth Bol^ia, and haw Dante's 
Culing strength and spirit are revived by the nobie 
words with which Virgil stimulates him to fresh 

Xnuivhion lOfrom ver 61 to ver. 96, we read of^ 
thcroeli' descent over the declining bridge which j 
cro9>ses the Seventh Bolgui, until they reach its inner 
and lower rampart, from which through the profound 
gloom, their eyes are just able to discern the punish- 
ment of the Thiev es. 

^D £>wision Iirjrom ver. 97 to ver. 120, they wit- 
Dcss ine'appailing penally of one of the lihades. 

353 Headingfi on ike Jnftmo. Canto xxiv. 

\Jn Division IVJ from ven 121 to ver. 151, the shade 
Treveals himself as Vanni Fucci.and then, after relating 
his crime, predicts the great changes that shall take 
place at Pistoja, his native city. 

Division L — At the conctulU Qn of the last Canto , we 
saw Virgi l's ill-repressed indignatite at finding broken 
down the bridge to which Malacod: had directed him. 
Dante, o n seeing the emotion <^ jlr^1j~h"as attribut ed 
it to fe ar lest they should no^be able to get oat of ^e 
Si xth Bolgia,_ and is ^eatly alarmed. But as th cy 
appr oach the ruins of t| i^ hndj^p^ he i^^^^RpnsjHly re- 
lieved on seeing Virgil turn to him with a gentl e an d 
^s mi ling coiintgpanc g. In o t^p ^f his ha_gpiestsi miles , 
-Dante describes how his terrors then vanished as 
speedil y as the hoarsest that i30V CT& the grass 'at 
breako f day,_ in early spri ng, vanishes under the 
Sun s ray s; aiyd how th e pooFp^AaAnt, who o n"scein g 
the^hoa r-frost has f ^iven way to despair lest tiis sheep 
sho uld perish, at Qnc_e takes heart on see in g the th^ w. 
and drives them for th contentedly to their feedin g- 

In quella parte del gipvinetto anno 

Che il sole t cfin sotlo 1* Aquario tcmpra,* 
E gia le notli al mcjtjtodi sen vanno : * 

*iemfrra . . . i crin : The fnllowinK Commentators take Irm- 
f>r(t here to mean that the Sun tempcm the coU of Tiis locks. 
that is,, makes his rays stronger and n^armer as winter changes 
into spring : Lana, Witte, Phil&kihis, Blanc. Scartaxrini. Frati* 
cclli. Camcrinl, Lord Vernon, Cesari, Poletto, and th« Danish 
translator Molbcch. 

t U noUi ai mttxodi un vanno : Witte** intcq^rctation " gegcn 

tSiidcn," also that of the Ottimo and scvcrali oJhcr cxcctlcnt 

RUthoritics, is the one I follow, rather than the more cotiimon 


Canto XXIV. Readings on the Inferno, 



Quando la brina in ^uUa terra asscmpra* 

L' imagine di sua sorella bianca, 5 

Ma poco dura alia sua penna tcmpra ; f 

Lo villancllo, J a cui la roba manca, 

Si leva e guarda, e vede la campagna 
Bianchcggiar tutta, ond' ei si batti; V anca : 

Kitorna in casa, e qu& e \k si lagna, lo 

Come il tapin ^ che non sa che si faccia ; 

translation, " the night!» are progressing towards half the day," 
ix- the Equinox is approaching. The astronomer Antonclli 
(in Tonimasco's Commentary) says: "e quindj allorchfe Ic 
lunghc notti ban cominciato IL lor paasaggto dall' emisferg 
oofitro a qualla di mezzo di per l' opposto mato del Sote 
islcaso, che procedente da Auf^tra, si appressa ormai all' Equa- 
tOTc/' As the days gets longer and the Sun advances towards 
the Norths the long nights get shorter and retire towards the 
South. Getli is very decided in rejecting the interpretation of 
the Equinox bncing referred to. 

* tUiempra : Sec Gmn Dizionitrio, s,v. a^sfmprare : "Come 
diccvano [gli antichi] Escmphtre nel senso di CopLare, Ritrarrc 
da un cBcmplare/' Therefore we are lo take it that asi^rnpittte 
wa* an old Itahan word signifying '* to copy." Blanc (i'd^fW) 
Chinks that here it means ^' to draw^ to depict, to trace, to 
portray, tt> write," and that the hoar-frost sketches on the 
^ound the image of her ststcr, the snow. It must be taken in 
immediate connection with alia ata piuna tcmpra. (See s,tm- 
brare umbiare and aJl its cognate words in Donkin'a Eiymo- 
iogicai IXictionury). Dante uses the word in the Vita Suova^ 
§ I : '* Ic parole, le quah £ mio intendinienlo d^ assemprare in 
i|omo libcllo/' etc. 

ifoc4> dura itUtt sua peixnn Umpra : Scartazjiini says that 
■ante hai ^ivcn a personality to the hoar-frost, and has placed 

her hand a pen wilb whicli she copies, and retraces in hcf' 
aclf the ftcmblancc of her white sister ; but as the fine mending 
o{ the point of the pen is not maintained, the image she is de- 
H^nioi;, ffocn constant use, loses its accuracy; or, in plain 
worda. aa the da>' ^eta warmer, the hoar-h'oat disappears under 
Ibc rays of ihe Sun. 

X wiUmmtlU} : A modification of viUano, '' one who dwells in a 
CCMintr>' homc«(ead (vilia) for the purpose of Icadmg flocks." 
Alao ** one who lilU the soil, a husbandman." 

fts^im: Tabino is derived from the Greek ravtivot^ which 
^ Gnm Diztonano «aya primarily meant ''of humble Condi' 

254 Readings on the inftrno. Canto xxtv. 

Poi ricde, c la speranza ringavagna^'*' 
Veggendo il mondo avercangiato faccU 
In poCQ d' ora, e prende suo vincastro, 
E fuar le pecoreLlc a pascer caccia. 15 

In that part of the youthful year in which the Suo 
tempers his locks [i.e, warms his rays) beneath 
Aquarius, and when the {long) nights have begun 
to pass away (from the Northern hemisphere) to 
the South ; when the hoar-frost traces upon the 
ground the image of her white sister (the snow) ; 
but not long does the fine mending of her pen last 
(r.i'. as it thaws, the resemblance of hoar-frost to 
snow fades away); the peasant, whose fodder ia 
running shorty arises, and looks out and sees the 
plain all white, whereat he smites his thigh : turns 

tion," but in debased !ater Greek, came to signify misertUo. 
Donkjn, Etymoi. Did. s.v. Ft- sc lapir^ with all its dcrivntions, 
parlicula^rly cKplains that the " Italian iapino^ poor, is. probably 
from rmr^u-of." Litir£ observes that in the twelfth century, rd^m 
had the same signification in France. In Boccacao, Dmun. 
Giorn. Hi. Nov, 7, the word tapino and lapinart occurs twjcc: 
" Non h mollD maggiorc L' uccidcrlo, o il nf>andarlD in csilio 
(npinamio \\t\ misery] per lo mondo," And ibid.: " E chc voi 
del &U0 esilio e dejlo essere andato lapin per lo mondo scttc 
anni non state cagione, queato non si pu6 negarc" Dante 
UscK the word again in Inf. xxx, gi : '''li due tapini." See also 
Michelangelo BuortarottI il GiavanCf L& Fitra, Giorn iiii Act 
h2, sc. 12 : — 

*' e inopie 

Di pcdanti meschini 

E d' ingegni tapini." 

* ringavagna : This word was in 1560, Gelli says, in use 
along the Genoese Riviera, where jfdfd,fHi was the name for 
certain baskets, therefore ringavagna here, " he re* 
places hope In his basket," i.£. " rccovcra hope." 1 ^ndgavttgmff 
or cavitgnu in the Gran Disicnariu^ as meaning camettrot a 
basket. Rcnvenuto ^ays: " cava^na est cista ru!iticanat" and 
he remarks how happily selected the word has been by Dante 
as adapted lo the description of a rural ■^^■■'^■-;:« -f-tttm coiH^etit 
miitariM rusticanof). Throughout the i \'irg»l rnakcs 

similar compariaona and metaphors tu ..^u -.he exigencies 
lof his subject. 



-anto XXIV. Riadin^s on the Inferno. 255 

back into his house, and goes up and down gmmb- ^j 

ling, like a poor wretch who knows not what to [ 

do ; then he comes out againt and {on giving V. 
another look out) recovers hope {fit, stores hope 7 

up again in his basket), observing that in a little ( 

while the face of the earth has changed (owing to \ 
the hoar-frost having melted under the rays of the ^ 

risen Sun), and he catches up his crook, and drives ^ 
the sheep forth to pasture. 

D ante, having described the precise time of year^ u 

bv which he means the end of winter and the begm - i^ 

ning ofthe spring:, now Dnngs torw ard the proposi- 

tion to which he had made the comparison, in ordg r 

tn'^hm ^' how it wulhanpenthaTanfn^^ almost 

at 6 nc afad the same mom ent, be reduce d to th e. 

^ of d espair^ an^ a^ ^.ifirtPniv h^ rP^tnr^T"^n 

thfi flTtuinc^s., just in like manner he__^iahgs to 

luw how he fell into deep dejection o n see ing 
m ■» I ■ r km ■ ■ pi ■ m\ 

irgu walk away with s uch perlmbaliQiL.aiid^^fj|^n 


. co untenance, but w as re-animate d 
urning to tmn^aofln afterwards with a face 

armec vaxfttton. 

Cft»l mi fecc sbigoltir |o Mastro, 

Qiiand' ■□ gli vidi sL turbar la fronte, 

B cosi loato al mal giunse lo tmpiastro:'* 

Ch£ come noi venimmo al guasto ponte, 

Lo Duca a me si volse con quel ptgUo 20 

DolcCrt ch' 10 vidt prima a pi£ del mante* 

*io impiasin: Compare Petrarch, Trion/o d4lia Pama, Cap. 
Teritna 43 :— 

** E chi dc' nostri duci, chc *n (Juro astro 

PassAr r Eufrate, fccc *1 mal govcrno. 
Air itahche doglic ficro impiastfo ? " 
^ ion qutl jyi^Ho DaUt : tlcrc again wc hiive p^g!il^^ "mien/* 
. hyming with pigiio, ^' grasp," as in hi/, xxit, 73, which ace, and 
read my note upon it. Although ihc daUi piglw to which Dante 


Readings on the In/ertw. Cartto xxiv. 

Thus did the Master make me feel dismay, when 
1 perceived his countenance so disturbed, and just 
as quickly came the plaster to the wound. For as 
we reached the ruined bridge, my Leader turned to 
mc with the gentle mien which I first observed at 
the foot of the mountain, 

V irgil ca sts his eye attentivel y over the ruins of 
tUa hroken-doyvp briHgp, anrl g rtgr _a shott pause for 
reflection, seizes firm hold of Dante from behind. 
and JjAJ^ -irft^ h ^H impek h \m f nrwaTTff ; — ap the 

precipito us and V\ ]frf>'^ rigrpnA(e<^^^ li'nn/frul on p. 

-T-^.* Le brac<^a aperse, dopo alcun consiglio W 

Eletto seco, riguardando prima 
Ben la ruina, c diedemi di pigHo,* 

alludes in the present passage is not mentioned by him in the 
accounS of his first meeting with Virgil, wc are all the same 
led to infer it from the persuasive words used bj' Virgil to 
induce Dante to fo]l«w him into Hell; which words must ha%'e 
been accompanied by a great charm of manner, Beatrice 
implies as much when (luf. ti, 67-69) she says to Virgil;— 
"^ Or muovi, e con la tua parota ornata, 

E con ciS ch' h mestieri al suo tamparc^ 
L* aiuta ai, ch* lo nc -^ia consolata." 
The first mention of Virgil's encouraging tenderness to Dante 
is in Inf. iii, ig-ai :— 

"' E poich^ la sua m&no alia mia pose, 

Con Ueto votto, ond' lo mi confortai, J 

Mi mise dentro alle acgrete cose." ^ 

*cHcdemi di pigHo : Biagiolt draws attention to a passage 
In the Canzoimn, or to apeak correctly, in Canzone ii, of the 
Rime Apoerift^ attributed to Dante, but more probably imitated 
frorn him, which illustrates both doke piglio and dar 4% pigtw : — 
*' Poi f^uardo T amorosa e belU bocca. 

La apaiiosa fronte e il vago piglio, 

Li bianchi denti, e 'I dritto naso e '1 ciglio 

Polilo e brun, takht dipinto pare. 

II vago mio pcnsiero allor mi tocca 

Dicendo: Vcdi allegro dar di piglio 

In su quel labbro sottiEc c vcrmiglio 

Che d' ogni doke sapurito parc.^ 

Canto XXTV. Readings on the Inferno, 


E come quei che adopera ed cstima., 25 

Che sempre par che innanzi si proveggia ; 
Cosl, tevando me su v6r la cima 

D' un ronchion, avvisava un' altra scheggia, 

Dicendot— "Sopra quella poi t' aggrappa ;* 

Ma tenta prta a* h tal ch' eLla ti reggia." — 50 

He opened his arms, after taking some counsel 
within himseff, first closely surveying the ruins, 
and laid hold of me. And as one who executes a 
work and calculates, who always scents to make 
provision beforehand ; so he, as he lifted me up 
towards the summit of one great rock, had his 
eye upon another crag, saying: "Clamber up 
on to that one next; but first try TT it is strong 
enough to bear thee-" 

Benve mitQ points out that in MaUbolse Virgil 
a auall>'- lifted Dante in his arms, and carried h im 
whene^ fir they had to descend to the bottom of any 
Bolgia, or to issue from it. He did so whe n the ^ 
haf To_ gesce^d into the Bol^ia of the Simon i st Sj 
and c arried him up again out of it; when pursued 
by tfic PemonSj he took Dante oiTTils brcast and 
jfilid d own the cliff into the Boigia of the Hypocrites 
S>ut now he partly lifts and partly helps him^t 
Ifcia jnber up^by himself, and he does so, for ih 
r eason that whereas in the former Bolge the cliffi 
were too p recipitous for tTT^Toot of man, in this 
B^dgia t^eLrnina of the bridge offer a sufficient. 

• '' »e^rappa : The verb agerapffart mgnifieB " tg clutch tightly 
}fy bookioK on with both baitds curved/' In Inf. xvi, 133-135, 
the word is u&cd to (tcsenbc th^ fauUng of un anchor caught 
cm the bottom of the sea :— ^ 

** SI come torna colut che va giuao 

Talora a solver V incora, ch' aggrappa 
O &cogho od allro che ncl marc c chiuso." 
II. . H 


Readings on the Infimo. Canto XXJV. 

though difficult mode of ascent. It is not without 
'the sev erest exert innJtT?"* '^^ntp j^ able to surmoynt 
the cUtf» showing, Benvenuto thinks, how hard it is 
to escap e trom tt^e toils of the Hypocrites, who afe 
a ble To" deceive the ve ry e lect. If however it wa s 
diffi cult for the Poets to quit the Bolgia, Dante 
remarks that for the lead-begi rt Hypocrites it would 
have "Been impossibl e. Dante then gives a topo- 
i^aphical explanation, by whicTi he demonstrates 
that owin g to the amphlthcatfrcar mcTinaftofi of 
Af{i/tffiDJgg_tQwarBjCt Ke great Cenrral Pit, the dT s- 
tance they have now to ascend is consider ably 
shorter than t hat dow n whir^ Virgjl had previously 
glide d with Dante in his amis. 

Non era vi^ dft vestito di Cjippa, 

Ch£ noL appena, ei Lieve, ed lo sospinto, 
Potcvam 8U montar dt chiappa in chiappa.* 

E ae Hon fosse che da quel pfccinto^ 

Pii^ che dall' altro, era la coata corta^ 55 

Non so d) lul, ma io sarei ben vinto. 

* d\ chiappa \n chiappa : Both fiUnc and Scartazftni dcriv* 

chiappa from the Old High Gerinan Ktappa^ and interpret it *'a 
projection of rock." Buti says: "Ji piftra in pUira." Ben- 
venuto: "di iapide in lapidim," and adds: "the meiaphor is 
happy, ioT chiappa is the convex part of the tilea with which 
are covered the roofs of houses. And as the man who walks 
upon the roofs of houses must do so very slowly and carcfullT 
unless he would fall and break his neck, so did Danle in IhTs 
rou^h place, as otheru'isc he would have run the risk of falling 
head downwards." In the Genoese dialect chiappu means a 
slab of atone (iastra di pittra). The Gran DUionarto sava that 
xhiappa is any object convenient for the hand to lay hold of 
{cosa coimda a potersi chiapparc)^ and refers to this very paia- 
age. Thia interpretation excites great indignation in BUac 
II is nevertheless a fact that in Tuscany, at the present day, 
(hiappa docs signify something to lay hold of. As a tow ex- 
preBsion of the populace fAbi/^a is quite a common word for 

!anto XXIV. Readings on the Inferno. 

2S9 A 




Ma perch^ Malebolge tn v£r la porta 

Del bassisBimo pozzD tutta pende, 

Lo slto dj ci^scuna valle porta 
Che r una costa surge e V altra sccnde : ^ \\ 

No way was il for one robeoiin 3 (leaden) cloakj 
for scarcely could we, he li^nT^being a spirit), ana 
1 pushed up (by him), mount up from crag to crag. 
And had it not been that on that (lower) boundiiry 
the cHlT was shorter than on the other side — -I 
know not about him — but I must certainly have 
been overcome. But because the whole of Male* 
bolgi inclines towards the mouth of the Eowest pit^ 
(the position of each valley necessitates that one 
side rises higher, and the other is lower. 

The outer rampart from which they descend into 
each HMf^ia is aTwAys a ^Udd deal higfier than that 
which t bey see in the distanc^on th e oilier sid e of 
Ihe valley. When , after crossing the bridge, whic h 
tbcy~i 7>»'ays ^o with a considerable descent, they 
reach tlie lower rampart, and stand on its causeway 
or fag";J 5'l' ^'"g (jfrroctHfoK ttir tTfind thpfn^selvpR upon 
the T&igher f ampartof the Bol^ia which t hey 

GetJi^ following the conjectures of Giambullari, 
estinM.tes the difference of level between the two 
ramparts of each Bolgia at 105 ells {braccia)^ i.e. 210 

The Po ets have now accomplished the toJlsomg 

r'in d hav e reached th e topnTost stone of th e 

.-^ ,nass. They find themselves sta nding upon 

protubemnt part of the body. But whether the right 
rprctftlion be " from rock to rock," or " from hold lo hoJd," 
tlie mcanini; is the same, that Danle ascended by each rock 
thai oflcrcd u hold for hts hand to clutch, 



K J 

Readings on the Inferno. 

the summit of the em ban kment_or^rarnpart which is 

the causeway between the Sixth and S ev ent h^^gg/gy. 
I mm edlat el^^Zbehindt hem \ ies the Valley of the 
H ypocrit es ; be fore them that of the Thieves ^ to 
^'^^rh wh'^^ t hey have^o traverse the breadth of th e 

On this Pere Berthier (Commentary on the Infemo) 
remarks; " Se in una costa di terreno si cavanofossi 
orizzontali e paralleli, ci ^aranno due sorte di argini 
o sponde, per tutti i fossi : gli uni verso i fossi prece- ■ 
denti, e gli altrl verso i fossi seguenti. I primi 
saranno piu alti dei secondi in propor/ione del pendio 
dei terrenOj e supposto il fondo orizzontale delta ugua- I 
glianza o disuguaglianza della inclina/lone rispet- 
tiva delle sponde." And Pere Berthier commends 
this further explanation by Poletto: '*Tutte le bolge 
hanno la medesima larghezza e profonditi, e per 
consequenza ^li argini hanno tutti la medesima al- 
tezza., sempre attendendo che ta sponda interiore d' una 
bdlgia c di circa un terzo ptu bassa delT opposta este> 
riore. Per conseguente abbiamo che il piano d* una 
bolgia, a chi facesse viagg^io verso il centro, sari 
sempre piu alto del piano della bolgia segucnte, e piii 
basso di quelle della precedente; e percio la clifferenia 
d' aUez^a fra la sponda esteriore e 1" interiore di cia- 
scuna bolgia potra calcolarsi. prcsumibilmenle, eguale 
alia diffcrenza di livello fra una bolgia e 1' allra." 

Noi pur vemmmo alftne in ku1I» punta^ 
Onde I' ultima pietra si scosccnde. 

* in sutlit punta : Benvcnuto explains this: " finalitcr |>cfvcni> 
muB ad extremitatem hujus pontis, irnJe P ultima petra^ scilicd 
pontis przdicti fracti, si scosccnJc, id csi, dividitur d stparatur 

!arit^3I^^ Readings on the Inferno, 


La tena m' era del polmon si munta 

Quando fui su, ch' 10 non polea piii oltrc, 

Anzi mi assist nella prima piunta. ^ {"457 

At length however we got up to the point fromt 
which the last stone (of the ruined bridge) breaks 

off (from the bridgeway leading; to the next^ 

bridge). The breath was so exhausted {lit.y^^^ 
milked) from my lungs when I was yp, that I 
could (move) no further, nay, I sat me down on^ 
my firal arrival. 

"It is evig ent, from 11761 -6 3\ that the accents up to 
the crests of the successive arcllt!^ art; 'gxceed jngly' 

st eep and laborious, especially t hat one now before 
thp pQ*;ts ^ and | rf^^^t^ s not allow Dante much re- 
In wttrds 


?mgular beauty and power he 

urges him talhrow off ^H ^V^.^^P^SSr SOtis^al^^iL 

life 01 exertion an d self-sac rifice that a man can 

as a 

i t he would be" but 

Dantt* has an intiniteh 

_ . . iTrf^^ nY the- ^r^nnLgirt nf Piirpatnirv.' anH hf mii^t 

no t ttimii tJlALj is recei U d^taarturc liu^ Jji^jivDp- 

Gelli aomires thc/miiraf pointed in Virgil's words 
to Daiilie, winch seetn to impU' that for a man to live 

-'-^ I ■■II.' lii iIhi ■ m^miiii ^^miiim 

a Chnstian liie, it will nut ^uihce for him to depart 

pctra alteriuB pontis integrt." I imagine', as explained in 
xriii. thai each of the spokes oi the wheel of Slale- 
mia a conlmuciualy dcsccrtdrng bridgtrway that ran both 
ihe rampartu («'/>/;» and the fosses {Bolgi)^ and when 
crosatflc ihe Botga rose up into archea from the crests of which 
ihc bndgcfi deacendcd In a level con&iderably lower. Carlyle 
•■^ in ft note : ''The whole place tends downwards tn Satan, 
•Ad the valkyv lying like successive ringH on the steep hang' 
' und, have the c^uter side high and the inner low. ' 


z63 Readings on the Inferno . Canto xx^^^ 

frorn_sinj_^a^,lfaat_jicJs also bound to do active good> J 

And that i s why Virgil iTO\v^^pr^venJantc_f o r ' 
sJtt mgTTaWn, remm3in?nimthartHetKne , 

ahfl tna t ne^must be up and doin g. ^^^^^^^^ 

^^" dmai convien che tu cosl ti spohre,**— * 

Disse il Maestro, — ^'^che aedendo in piuma 
In fama non si vien,t nh sotto coltre. 


*/e %po(irc : Spoltrirc \s the contrary of poUrirtj the initial s 
being privft^ive, PoUnrc according to X,ht_J[lian Dizionario 
signifies ""WIVol in sipth.^^ ind^lgcin (^ enessX ' Compare 
Buonarroti (tKe younger) La l^lera-, GiornrTvirAct iii, sc^ j : — 
'* Non piu riposo no, non piii poltrire. 
In palazzD, in palazzo." 
GeSli observes : " Poltro is an old word in our [the Tufi 
language, and signifies 'a bed': from it is derived poUr 
which means, literally, 'one who likes to He in bed': thence 
the verb wtpoltro»irf comes tu be used mctftphoricalJy, in the 
sense of tctting oneself so sink into actidie and sloth that he 
who thus indulges becomes a useless man and of little con- 
sideration ; and spottronire is the contrary of this, signifying 
'to shake off sloth and idleness.'" Compare Faxio dcgli 
Uberti, DiUamoHdo, iii, 5 :— 

" La strada so, ma convien ch' uom si spoltri." 

iscdettdv in piuma In fama non si vkn : Compare Dtttttn 

"Leltor, tu d^l pcnsar, che senza ardire. 

Sen^a affanno soffrir V uomo non puote 
Fama acquistar. nc Rr^n cose fornire.** 
And Petrarch, Part iv (Sopra Vari Argomtnti), San, i: — 
" La gola e 'I scrno e V oziosc piurac 

Hsnno del mondo ogm vtrrtu sbandila.** 
Di Siena remarks how throuRhnut his poem Dante shows what 
value he attaches to the hope of leaving behind htm a re- 
nowned name, and how, when enjoined by Cacciaguida to gjxc 
a true report of all that he had said to censure the Florentines, 
Danti' fearn on the one hand the hostility of the persons 10 
censured if he repeats Cacciaguida's words, and on the other 
hand fears to lose renown if he Ainchea from spcakins the 
truth* See Par. svi, 116-1^0: — 

" Ho io apprcso quel che, s' jo ridico, 
I A moiti fia sapor di forlc sgrume ; 

Canto XXIV, Readings on the In/ertw. 


Scnza la qual chi fiuavita consuma^ 

Cotal vestigio in terra di ah laacia, 50 

Qual fummo*' in aer cd in acqua la schiuma ; 

E pcr6 leva bu, vinci T ambascia + 

Con r animo chc vince ogni battagHa, 
Se col suo ^rave corpo non s' acca&cia X 

E s* id al veto son timido amico^ 

Temo di perder viver tra coloro 
Che questo tempo chiameranno anttca." 
W«ll may we say of Dante, what he said of Virgil in In/, ji, 59, 

" Di cui la fama ancor net monda dura, 

E durcri^ quanto 11 moto lontana." 

*ftiwima (iot fiimo) : Compare Wisdom v, 14 ; " For the hope! 

o( tnc ungodty is like dust that is blown away with the wind ;i 

like a thin froth that is driven away with the &torm ; like as 

the &moke that is dispersed here and there with a tempest, and 

th away as the remembrance of a guat that tarrielh but q 

fambascia : The word in its primary sense signifies the difH- 
itty of breathing that arises from excessive fatigue (Latin 
■latic^ Greek liCtTirfiHa), Hence it comes to take the meta- 
phorical signification of "fatigue, toil, annoyance." See Inf. 
xxiciu. 96 ; Purg, nvi* 39 ; Par, xxvi, 133, 

5 s' acfa%cia : Lord Vernon {[n/emn, Va], i) in a note on this 
paBaagc observes; '^' We say a^fosciarsi of anything, wheRi^ 
bcin^ unable from its ^rcat weight to hold it up, wc let it go, 
«pd it falls down. Here it has the moral sig^niBcation *pra- 
vidcd that the spirit does not allow itself to be overcome by the 
body.' or, in other wordi;, Reason b^ temptation." Accasciani 
"' .tinctly has the sense 6T"aTailure ofihe will lo employ 
her resistance. Blanc ! Voc. Daiii.i interprets : '' sc laisscr 
•ccabler'' r Scartazzini : *Mascia andar giCi '" ; Gelli : "pon 
gJLi e abbandonasi." Compare Horace ii, Sai. ii, 77-79:— 

"Corpus onuRtum 
Kestcrnis vitji* animum quoque praegraval una, 
Atquc affigit humo divinac particulam aurae.'" 
t}a.nte makes Vir^it repeat these very wards of his almost . 
exactly in ^n. vi, 730-732. 

" I^neua est oilis vigor et coelcstts origo 
Semixiibus, quantum non nokia corpora tardant, 
Tcrremque hebctant artus, moribundaque membra.'* 



Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxiv. 

Piu lunga scala convicn che si saglia : 55 

Non baata da co^tsfo esser partito: 
Se tu m' intend£,J>^r fa si che ti vaglia." 

v"*^ Now thou must needs thus shake off all sloth/* 

/"^ said the Master, "for neither by reclining upOD 

k down, nor under coverlets, does one come to fame, 

) without which, whoever consumes his life, leaves 

<' of himself the same trace on earth as smoke in air 

^ and foam on water: and therefore rise up, con- 

/ quer thy exhaustion [lii. panting) with that spirit 

/ which wins every battle, if it docs not allow ilself 

/ to be overcome by its heavy body. A long'er stair- 

/ way has yet to be climbed : to have departed from 

( these {i.e. the Hypocrites) is not enough: if thou 

y understandest me, now act so that it may profit 

\ thee/' 

Dante's journey will not have been accomplished 
when he teaches the extreme depths of Hell. B en- 
venuto says that after the Hypocrites, who walk so 

slow . Dante wUT next have to visit the Thieves, who 

p rowl about at nigkt. gliding in the dark over the. 
ground as lightly as serpents. 
f^ D anteTs completely reanimated by Virgil's admo ni* 
tion,_ and p rofesses himself refreshed as w ell as ready 
to follow his leader. 

Leva' mi allar, mostrandami fornito 

Meglio di lena ch' io non mi sentla^ 

E dissi : — *' Va' ch* io son forte ed ardito-" — t 


I * Se tu m* intitidi t Virgil here gives Dante a gentle bint that 
I Beatrice is. well worth the exertion Dante will make to reach 

f sQn fork ed ardih : Amplified this would mean: "son forU 
a sostenere la fatica del cammino, ed ardito ad intrapcndcrla." 
Biagioli says this is an idiom that includes the strength of the 
iiody and tht* boldnt^fls of the soul. Dante uses the expression 
here for n toilsome ascent; and in Canlo xvii, 79-8a, he put* 

^antp XXIV, Readings on the Inferno. 


Then 1 arose, letting myself seem better provided 
with breath than I really felt; and said : " Go on^ 
for I am stout and fearless/' 

Benvenuto remarks that the hope of reward is 
itself an alleviation of toiL 

II. — yfi** Pf^te p.n-p..g +hFiir f'""'^** 

Su per lo scogfio prendcmmo la via, 

.gevolc, ^ 

Ch' era ronchioso, stretto e malagev 
Ed erto piu aasai che quct di pria. 

Upward we took our way upon the rocky bridge, 
which was rugged, narrow and difficuU, and much 
steeper than the preceding one. 

Scarta ^zini o bser ves t hat this confirnis _what he 

established when corame-atiiiK on /«/, xviii, 16, 

namely, t hat from the encircling, cliffs oi Maiebolgc 
there ran, not nnp, Knf ^y^tera^ of bridge- 
ways, each of which crossed the Bol^. The present^ 
pass age shows that they w^re not aJI of f^giial Irv pI, 
He s ays that the comparison is between one bridge- 
way and ano ther {fra scoglio e scoglw) ; and by sc&glw 
he does not una erstatid one single bridge over on e 
single Bol^ia ^ut a bridgeway, or system of bridg es , 
CfossnigaTrthe^^e n Boise. Of these systems there 

were several, like 
MSS. and edi tions read 
Ji pr%4i\ whicH" 

spokes in a wheel. Some 

_ qu ei di (tna instead of qu^l 
all the more confirms Scartaz^ini's 

rvTAify the same words in the mouth of Virgil when they are 
about to face the pcrila of the descent into MaUiwigi on the 
back of Gcr^'on : — 

"Trovai lo Duca mio th' era sahto 

Giii in fiulla grtippB del hero animale^ 
E disse a mt : 'Or ^li forte cd ardito. 
Qmai nj fctcndi- per si faitc scale.'" 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto XXIV. 

As t he Poets are climbing up the asce nt of the 
ar ch, they hear, at some distance ahead of _ thenv. 
an angry voice utte ring sounds which th ey cannot 

/^ Parlando andava per non parer ficvolc,* 

Onde una voce usdct datl' altro fosso, 65 

A parole formar disconvencvole.t 
Non so che disse, ancor che sopra il diosso 
Fossi deir arco |^ii ghe varca quivi ; 
Ma chi parJava ad ira parca mosso, 

A walked on talking so as not to seem w«ak, 

/^whereupon a voice too inarticulate to form words 
( issued from the next fosse {i.e, the Seventh 
\ Bolgut). 1 know not what it said* although 1 
) was already upon the crown of ihe arch that 
y crosses here; but he who was speaking seemed 
/ moved to anger. 

Dante stoops ov er the edge of the bridge, an< 

str ains h is eyes downwards, but the y are unable ~to 
penetrate the deep gloom of the bottom of the Bolgia t 
w heFcunop he en treats his leader to d escend the 
br idge to the lower cliff, which seems to be^abou t _ 
one-third lower than th e other . Virgil consent s. I 

*^evcle: "FievolE It., Sp. Prov. /ffr/f, Portg./fftfr, FrencK 
/oifr/c, 0, Fr. JfoibU Jloibc, Engl, feeble ; from fiehiHs^ the first 
( being dropped." (Donkin's EtymologUal DtclioHary nj tkt 
Romaficc Lanj^uuges). As used in the present passage it means 
"weak, infirm, faint.*' 

f vou . . . disconvenevoU : GelU understands by twc, spon- 
taneous sounds, and by f>aroU^ the deliberately articulated 
expression of the conceptions nf man. This, he says, w»s 
the teaching of Bocthius in his Comments upon Amlotlc 
He entirely disagrees with the interpretation adopted by 
Benvenuto : " vote ... a formar paroU (iiuont<ne\t»U. idest, 
inhonesta, qualia decent virunii int'amen, qualis crat iste." 
Giambullari follows BenvenutOt 

Canto XXIV, Readings oti ike Inferno. 



lo era v6lto in giu ; ma ^li occhi vivi * 70 

Non potean ire al fondo per V oscuro : 
Perch' io: " Maestro^ fa che lu amvi 
Dall' dtro cinghio,+ e dismontiam lo muro ; 
Chft com' i' odo quinci e non intendoj 
Cos) giii vcggio, e niente affiguro." — J 75 

— " Altra risposta/'— dJBHCf — ^' non ti rendo, 

Se non lo far : chi la domanda onesla 
Si dee seguir coir opera tacendo." 

I had bent downwards; but my living eyes were 
nol able to reach the bottom through the dark- 
ness : wherefore I : " Master, contrive to get on 
to Ihe next rampart (/.£'. the one between the 
Seventh and Eighth Bolge), and let us descend 
the wairj(from the bridge to^e cause way )Tifor 
aB ixorct tTiis spot ] h^ar and yet do not ilHder- 
stand, so I am looking down, and nothing can I 
discern." ** No other reply/* said he, " do I give 
thee than by the doin^ (what thou askest) : be- 

^gli oetki vivi : Compare Inf. xviii, log-ur : — 
" ho fondo h cupo SI, che non ci basta 

Loco a vcdcr senra montarc al doseo 
Deir arco, ove lo scogUo pi& aoprasta," 
Some understand vivi in the sense of " penetrating," as in xxiXf 
H-55: — 

**Noi discendcmmo in suH^ ultima riva 

Del liungo scogli^ pur da man sinistra, 
Ed Jtllor fu ta mia vista pi^ viva 
G*ii v*r In fondo." 
t Daif ailro cin^hto : Here da is *' on to/* not " from." Tris- 
Pvino, in hia Para/rasiy interprets the passage thus : " Maes^tro, 
frrocura di arrivare <flil^ ahro circolar argine." Compare Inf. 
^»ai, lAb'HT— 

** Barbanccta, con di alln suoi daknte, 
Quattro ne fe volar dall' altra cosla 
Con tutli i raffi." 
] wv^ ■ • ■ o^iguro : Di Siena points out that there is a 
luMafate difference between udtn and inUnden ; as aho between 
wdtn and aj^gurare. Compare Inf. xi'iJi, 42, ^3 : — 
" * Di eld vcder coatut nun apn di^iuno/ 
Prrci6 a ftgurarlo i picdi aPfissi," 



Readings oh the Inferno. Canto Xxjv. 


jTrcAust the becoming request must be followed by 
\( its performance in silence." 

Thf. Qnmmar^r nf what has_ becii taking place and 
is to follow is lucidly described in the Commentary 
of Di Siena: '* Wonderfully depicted is the toil- 
so me passage from the bottom of the Si?^ Botgia, 
in^which^re the Hypocri tJ s, lo ttie EiRhthR ampart 
(argine)^ whj chjie s between the fosse of the ThieVes 
and that of the Fraudulent Counsellors, "The PoeTs 
first jcIam^cT^p by tHe ruins ol the brokcn-d O^n 
bri HgeTxxiv, 7 q- 4^) : afters, short rest there, jhe v 
talce their way" u p the stee p flf^r*'"* ^f the arch of the 
brid ge (6 i-63)j_b^Mthig^ thcv reach the crown of t he 
arch (6 y, 6a)There Dante hears f rom the depths o f 
the Seventh Bolgia th e sound of a voice, the words 
of which, up at thatlieight, he is~unable to disti iT- 
guishV and as the darloiess is fflgr eover too great for 
his humaneye to pierce i t^Ji^ he^ ^s^ YirFJl to allo w 
him to get down theJ owfr '"liff a< thp pmnt^athere 
the lower end of the bridge they are descending joins 
on to~Tt" T7D^75)-rbtrt^ere~is-^e^t!npoflant^poihtJ 
when tfieyreach thclowcr cHff, tTiey do not go down 

1 into_Jh e bo tt om ol ihi_Iio Ipa_^ which is swarming 
with pois onous, serpents, but^ hey seem to ha ye gone 

a litiriI^yj5j>^iL i^^ ^^^^ "^ ^^^ ^' ff fay ^fag ^'dl of 
^certain proj ecting rock s which were under ttfe^ead 

f the bndgejjidjbrmed a kind of rude stairwayTttp 
whtetr^S^ T r3^i5r they afterwards re^ascend an d 
resumciheir journey. 

*That they do not go down to the bottciin of the Btf^in we 
have distinct proof, for in Canto xx%\ 35, Dante letls us that 
three spirits came below the apot where he and Virgil were 

" E tre spirit! vcnner sotto noi." 


into XXIV. Ri!adings on the Inferno. 


On one point only I am not inclined to accept ^^^ 
vie w of Pi Siena. Irather imagine that itlvas fco iP 
the top of the tower Ra mpart that the Poets looked 
down on the Thieves and serpents, and 1 pict ureto 
myse lf that the causes vay ol the bridge ran across 
the R ampait not at the same, but at a higher le^ jj^ 
and that the Poets, after crossing the bridge, climbed 
dowU the bidti of the c auseway (xxiv, 79T on To the 
Rampar t, and con sequently wouTd^ be forced, when 
(xx^'TTii) they resumedTTHeir journey, to climb up 
again irom the Kampart to the causeway between 
the bridges? '^ 

FromJiiiS --Eoint Dante is able t o see. th ^errible_ 

p onishment of the_Thieves, who are pursued and_ 
bi tten bv 

Noi 4Htfiff3emmo il ponte dalla teatai 

s' aggiunge crvH' nttava ripa, So 

B poi mi fu la bolgia manifesta : 
E vidivi cntro terribilc stipa -I* 

• Benvenuto remarks how appropriate this punishment is to 
the cnmc of % tJiiefi 6rst» because the serpent is Ihtt most 
•ubtlf •>( nil Animals, a^ the thief is among mem ; the serpent 
Wind* it»clf under stones and the hiding-places of the earth; 
and the thief in like manner, slips under the money-changers' 
tabic*, burrowB under ground, climbs in through windows or 
p-<loor% and seeks for dtrns and lurking-holes ; and in the 
of the serpent when seen, or the thief when discovered, 
men immediately start off in pursuit ; and, a s the serpe nt 
e» in the £1*^8^ ^o docs the thief ply hi a trade i n tnc ilTS rk 

r«ichc ^"-^ ^' 

f WrrikiU ttipa : LcmparL- Inf. xi^ 3 '. — 

"Vcnimmo aopra piii cfudcle Mips.'* 
In Imf. xxxi, j6, Dante speaking of the air condcn&ing the 
rapoor. uys : '*Ci&chc cela iL vapor chc I' acre atipa [i^. 
crowds together, thickens], Hrunone Bianchi sayti that slipa 
in the present pasnage j» moitftHiiine ammucckiata, Bargig) calls 
it moii%t»dinr di ier^atti itipati e iUtusi dcntrtK 

270 Riadin^% on the Inferno. Canto xxiv. 

Di scrpentij e di si diversa men*,* 
Che la memoria il sangiie ancor mi scipat 
Piu non si vanti Libia con sua rena ; J 85 

Ch(^, sc chelidri,^ jaculi c faree 
Produce, c cencH can am&atbcna. 

*mffla — sorU^ specie. Compare Inf. xvii, 39: — 
"... Va, c vedi ]a tpr mena-** 
+ jei^ff ; Compare tuf. vii, 31 : — 

" E perche nostra colpa si ne scipa ?" 
" Scipare A guaslare, uttritiiu" (Boccaccio). Fraticclli, Bnj- 
none Bianchi and others think si-i{>are is the same as scmpare. 
Di Siena says that in the Calabrian ^'crnacular, they siill use 
the verb a&cippare for sraduare [to root up], sttrparf, spiantan ; 
and that aacippa is the hole that is dug to plant the vine in It, 
destroying i>nd extirpating every other plant or preceding vine 
roots. Lombards interprets the present passage: " Mi gU4.s.tA 
il sangue, me la fa agghiacciar di spaventa." Volpi : "ScijMnr 
«• Laceraref malmenare, straziare." 
I Libia c&ti sua nna : Dr. Moore (Studies in DanUy i, p. 338) 
I Wys on this passage : " Dante has borrowed the various species 
of serpents in the seventh BoigiSf surpassing, aa he says, tho&e 
liproduced in Lib^a, from Lucan's description of the plagues of 
f> Libya in Phars. ix, 700'7ai, The five names given here by 
Danle all occur in Lucan, as welt as many others." *' By 
Libya here is meant the Roman province of Afri ca, wh ich lay 
to the west of Egypt ; this name is assf|pica^o lha( district by 
Dante's geographiual authorities, Solimus and Orosiua, and by 
the Hereford map, which represents the mediseval vie»^ on 
that subject." (To^er, Engl. Com. on the D.C). Compare 
Lucan, Phars. i, J67, 368: — 

^* Due age per Scylhiae populos, per inhospita Syrtis 
Litora, per calidas Libyae aitientis harenas." 

^chelidrif etc. : Compare especially in Lucan*s long descrip- 
tion in Phars, ix, IL 711, 713 : — 

" Tractique I'ia fumantc Chelydri : 
Et semper recto lapsurus linfiite Cenchria." 
And II. 719-721 : — 

" Et gravis in geminum surgens caput Amphisbaena : 
Et NalrtK, violator aquae, Jaculiquc volucrc^^ 
Et contentus iter cauda sulcare Pareab." 
Compare also Milton, P^ir. Losi, x, 5iy-528: — 
"... for now were all transform'd 
AlilcC] to ficrpenta all, as accessories 
To hia bold riot. Dreadful was the din 

Canto XXIV. Readings on tin: Inferno. 


MoHlro giamniai con tutta 1' Etiopia, 
K^ con c\h Che di sDpra U Mar Rosso &e. 

We descended the bridge {i.e, climbed down the 
tide of the bridgeway) at its head (just at the 
bridge-head), where it joins on with the Eighth 
Rampart, and then the Bolgia waa disclosed to 
me: and I saw withtn it a fearful swarm of ser- 
pents, and of such variety of species, that the 
recollection of them even now makes my blood 
run cold« No more let Libya boa&t of her sands ; 
for though she brings forth Chelydri, Jaculi and 
Phareae, and Ccnchri with Amphisbaena, not even 
did she ever display so many or such ghastly 
places, with ^11 Ethiopia, nor with that (region) 
which lies upon the Red Sea [i.e, AjabiaJ, 

In this last line Dante evidently wish f^s tf^ rpfpr in ^ 
the three great deserts by which Egypt is surro unded ; 
na mely. Libya on t he left bank n£ the Nile, RtKin^ia^ 
to t he South of Egypt, and Arabia to th e right on 
the other side of the Red Sea {di sopra il Mar Rosso). 

Bcnvem ito remarks th at Dante i s here all n f1i"g ^'^ 
the retre at under Cato of a Roman armv into the 
Liby an desert s, a nd^jg J!g^^v>_i3rJ:5, .has- -done so 
before. After speaking^f the g reat suffering s the 
soldiCTs^jmaerw^Tfrom wind^ dust^ s^^ndJ_Jlpat anH 
thirst, Benvenuto adds th at the worst paiL ci£ their 
troubl es was from the multitud es of serpents of 
varioua kinds to which they werc^posed . Tlie' d e- 
scripti on oi these serpents is given at great lengUu 

Of hissing through the hall, thick iwarmJng now 
With complicated monsters head and tail, 
Scorpion, and A^p, and Amphisbaena dire, 
Cerasle« horn'd, Hydrus, and Klops drear, 
And Uipsaa ; (not au thick swarm'd (inct- the aoii 
Bedropt with bluod of Gorgan» ar the isle 
^^ Ophiuu)/' 




Readings on the Inferno. Canto xXfV. 

the shapes, the habits, and the_anecdotes of the 
differenr^pecteT*teTng~fnentioned, with fabulous de- 
tails which re present " f h eignO Tgm Oti uf na t uial h i i;lu T ^ ' 
prevalent in Benvenuto s time j and yet a re so quaint 
and original, that one re grets not being aT)IeTo afiorJ 
space l or TFeir insertion here. Benvenuto see ms to 
he ^conscious of his prolixity^ for he conclud es : 
^ " Marv el not then if I have said so m uch about this 
^pa nd, that you may see what great analog y it has 
with this Bol^ia, for sand is sterile and^^ ars no 
ffrui t: and so it is with the ab ode of thievea. 

*Hitropia: This was supposed to be a precious stone^ a 
chalcedony, which when worn on the person had the power of 
rendering the bearer invisible. Pietro di Dante describes it 
as a green, red, or persC'Colaured stone, which when bathed in 
the juice of the^ plant q^tm dkimus mtra^okm^ renders invisible 
whosoever carries it. In the Deeamitvn, Giom. viiij Nov. 5., 
Boccaccio relates how Calandrino, searching After such « 
btone, [3 informed by Mas^o, who h hoaxing him, that the Eli- 
tmpta renders a man invisible i» the place where kt don mot 
kappas to he .' He says : " L' altra si i una pieira, la quale noi 
altri lapidarj appclliamo Elitropia. pietra di troppo gran vjrtii. 
pcrciil) che qualunque pcrstina la porta sopra di s^ mentre la 
tiene^ non c da alcuna altra persona veduto^ d^tvf mm i." The 
author of the Chiosf Ammtme (ed. Selmi) curiously confutes 
miopia with ditrop'ia^ On I. S9 he says: **con tuUa T Etiopitt ; 
you must know that Btiopiti is a precious stone, the which, 
whoever has it about him, is invisible to all men ; and that is 
why Dante aays that the shades in this Bo^ia are without anv 
hope of hiding thcnrtsclvcs.** 


i Sec ondly, because in this sand there are an immense 
/qua ntity of serpents which give ma ny and various 
I kinds of death, and the like in this BolgiaS' 
I The shades of the Thieves in torment are now 


Tra questa cruda e tristisBima copia 
Correvan genti nude c spaventate, 
Scnza. aperar pcrtugio clitfopia.* 



Canto JCXiv. Readings on the Inferno. 

I \^ani 


Can serpi tc man dietra avean leg^ate : * 

Quelle ficcavan per te ren la coda gj 

E il capo, ed eran dinanzi aggroppate. 

Amid this fell and most dismal swarm (of ser- 
pents) people were running, naked and panic- 
stricken, without hope of lurking-hole or heliotrope. 
They had their hands bound behind with serpents ; 
and these through their loins thrust their tail and 
their head, and in front were twisted up in knots. 

Benvenulo reads ed eran di rdro aggroppak, but 
thinks, whichever reading be adopted, that the ser- 
pents were armed with clawed feet with which they 
seized the sinners either from behind or in front. 

Division HI, — T he Poets are now spectators of the^ 
awf ul penalty of Vanni Fuccij a s acrijegious^thiet, 
wh o« being attacked and bitten by a serpen t, ini- 
ro ediately catches fire and is reduced to ashes. The 
ashe s are instajHaneously w^^irled up together by an 
iovi sible power, and reform themselves into the setn- 
blance of th e thief as before . Benvenuto thinks the 
meani ng is that certain men a re not thieves by their 
nat ur e, but only by their e vil associations^ and there- 
for e only at certain inte rvals are they srmUen by the 
se rpent, that is , by the sudden desire of thievTng.~ 
By _tlua^_d£aii; ^ their natur e gets for the time so 
: i y corrupted, that tt is consumed by the sin, an c 
incy arc led on to comm it the theft ; but when tlie 
crime has been" perpetrated, and they discontinue 

*Coii srrfi U man , . . Itgate : In Virgit. j£n<rtV, ii^ 312-232^ 
in the description of (he dcstructinn by scrpcnta of Laocoon 
and his two sons, his hands arc said to be bound in knots by 
Om MTpvnts : — 

*' tUc iimul manibus tendit divdlerc nodoa." 
II. S 


Readings oh the Inferno, Canto xxiv. 

■if\r thi>v m{T fnr the timft thftP they resume their 
/natural fo rms, habits and ways. 

Ed ccco ad UDj ch' era da nostra proda, 
S' avventb un serpente, chc i1 traAssc 
L& dove it coUo aUe spallc b' annod^ 

Ni O si tosto mai, n^ I si scrisse,* 

Coni' ei s' accede ed arse, e cener tutto 
Convenne + che cascando divenisse : 

E poi chc fu a terra si distrutto, 

La poh'cr ai raccoJse per s^ stessa, 

E in quel medcamol ritorno di butlo:§ 

Cosl per li gran savi || si confesea 

Che la Fenice ^ more e poi rinasce, 
Quando al cinquecente&imo anno apprcssa^ 



* Ni O ii tosto maij ai I si serhse ; No two letters ol the 

alphabet are more quickly written, each with one stroke of the 
pen* " Queste due lettere O et 1 si scrivono piii veloccmente 
che r altre, chc con piii tratCi di penna t dato lore form^* 
(AMonima Fiontttiitv). It in very evident that Dante made his 
" Vs " with a aingle stroke. 

tCoHtfcftwc, et scq. : Cottvmirt here expreEses the inevitable 
necessity it was for the shade of the thief, having; caught fire;, 
to fall down, converted into a heap of ashes. As a mailer of 
course he did sti. ft was his fate. 

I in quei mcdesmo : Compare Virg. Gairfg, iv, 440-444 ; — 
". . . Ille [Proteus] suae contra non imTncmor Aitis, 
Omnia transformat sese in miracula rerum, 
Ignemque, horribilemque feram, fluviumque Uquent«n. 
Verum, ubi nulla fugam reperit pcllacia, victu^ 
In scsc redit, alque hominis tandem ore locutus." 
g di tfutlo or di hotlo. See Gran Dixionario, Jrttcr D, pp. 143, 
t^^t under Di Botta^ and Di Butto. Dibotto is &omcti;nic& writtCR 
as one word, and the expression in un dibotto sometimes occorft. 
The signification is " in an instant of time." The word in both 
its forms is used frequently by Dante. 

Wper li gran stivi ; " Lasciando stare 1 poeli, trattarono della 
Fenice Pomponin. Tacito, PlinJo, Solino, e(c, Povera iavitua 
uttiaaa .' " (Andrcoli). 

^Fenice: The references to this fabulous bird are VKTy 

!ant^Siv. Readings on the Inferno. 


Erba nd blado in sua vita non pasce. 

Ma sol d' inccnso Jagrime ed amomo ; 
E nardo e mirra son V uEtimc faacc. 



namerous in ancient poetry. Compare Ovid, Mdam. xv, 3^- 

"Una est quae rcparet, seque ipsa resemtnet, ales. 
Assyrii Phecnica vacant, Non fruge, ncque herbis, 
Scd thuris lacrymis et aucco vivil amomi. 
Haec ubi quinquc complcvit saecuLa vitae, 
Ilicis in ramis, tremuUequc cacumina palmac, 
Unguibus et pando nidum sibi con&trult nre. 
Quo simul ac casias, et nardi !cni5 artstas^ 
Quassaquc cum fulva substravit cinnama myrrha ; 
Se super imponit ; finitque in odoribus oevum, 
Inde fcrum, toudem qui vivere debeat arinos 
Corpore de patrio parvum Phocnica rcnasci." 
Space forbids my quoting Petrarch, Part I, Canz. xiv, st. i ; 
or Milton, 5iirH5(r;i Agonhta^W. 1697-1707; but the account of 
the Phoenix by Brunetto I^atini (Tresor, Llvre i, 164) is so 
craphic^ that I gi\'C it in full : " Ferix est uns oisiaus en Arrabe 
oont il n'a plus que un sol en trestout le mondc:; et est bten 
M t; commc i. aij^le \ mais il a crestc souf ta maissele 
d une part et d'autre, et Ja plume de son col enqui entor eat 
rclnisanf camme Bn or arabien ; mais en ava9 jusqu*^ Ja coe 
Mtde CAlor de porpre, et la coe rose, f^elonc ce que It Arabien 
ttwnoipnent qui maintcs foiJE I'onl vcu. Bt dient aucun que 
il\tt .Vc. ct .h. ani, ct li autre dient que aa vie dura bien .m. 
am el plus ; mais li plusor dicnt que il cnvcillit en ,Vc- anst 
tt qoanl 11 a vescu usque LeL» sa nature Le bcitinnt et atise k aa 
norv Ce est por avoir vie ; car \\ s'cn va k .'%. bon arbrc 
[ UYoorous et de bone odor^ ct il en fait .1. Moncel oti i] fait le 
(cu <$prcndre, et puis entre dedans tout droit contre le solejl 
Irvint- El quant il est ara, en celui jor, de sa cendre sort une 
■tnnme i^ui a vie I'autre jor. Au secont jor de sa naissance 
ctt fiie Ij oiaclez comme petiz poucins ; au tierc jor est t02 
ruii et parcreuz tant comme il doit» et vole maintenant et 
*^S ra Jt son leu \k ou Vabitactons esi." 

*<J mmomc: Dr. Moore {Siitdia in Dank, \^ p. 222) says: 
*Iii /■/. axiv, 1 la we have two readinijH ; — 

D' incenso lagrime cd amomo 

e d^ amomOi 
TUi ia a point of distinction in which Ihe MSS. are of no hel^ 

II, S 2 



Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxiv. 

'And \ol upon one, who was on our side (of the 
Bolgiti)^ darted a serpent that transfixed him there 
where the neck is knotted to the shoulders. Never 
was an " " or an " I '* so quickly written, as he 
took ]ire and burned, and it was his doom lo fall 
down and turn a)l to ashes. And after that he lay 
thus destroyed upon the ground, the dust drew to* 
gether of itself, and in an instant returned into {i.f. 
reassumed the form of) that same spirit. So by 
great sages it is affirmed that the Phoenix dies 
and then comes to life again, when it approaches 
its five hundredth year. Nor on herb nor grain 
feeds it during its life, but only tears of frankin- 
cense and anrsotmum; and nard and myrrh are its 
last winding-sheet. 

According to Pliny, Naluralh Historia, Lib. xii| 
|kp. I3t § 28^ the amomum is a kind of wild vine;B 
tnd Gelli thinks that by f ultime sr«: /fls« Dante 
refers to the tradition that when the Phcenlx had , 
[reached its five hundredth year it built up its cicstl 
ikvith branches, roots, or leaves, of the spikenard and " 
ijmyrrh trees, and covering itself up with these» just 
fas babies are enclosed in swathing bands, it turned 
jto the rays of the Sun, and flapped its wings with 
I such velocity, that it kindled the pyre, and was con- 
1 sumed within it. 

Da nte now cnrqpares the demeanour of the res tJS- 
citaLed Thief to the confused pna pnerj either of one 
posses sed by a devil 


Btrokc of epilepsy^ 

one recovering from a 

to us, but the farmer reading is certainly made more 
by B comparison with Ovid, Md xv, 394 : — 

' Sed turis lacrimis ct succd vivit amomi^ 
where lacrifrtis belongs tc» turis only, to which, as Scartaxiifti'' 
obflcrvcB (note h.h), it could only properly apply. The whole 
passage ahowa other features of resemblance with Ovid /.f." 


prnbabli ■ 

Canto XXIV. Readings on ike Inferno. 


E qiial t quei che cade, c non sa cc»itiDi'*' 
per iotza. dt demon ch' a terra il tira, 
O d' aEtra t»ppi]a^iGn f che legs. V uomo, 

Quando si leva^ che intornn st mira 115 

Tutto smarrito da.lJa grande angoscia 
Ch' egli ha sofferta, c guardando sospira ; 

TbI era il peccator tcvato poscia. 

O potenzia dt Dio quant' ^ severa,| 

Che catai colpi per vendetta croscia] ^ %to 

*comoi Used by old Italian writerB in proi^c as well as in 
*-erse. Il is practicaJly the contraction of the Latin i^uomodo 
into flUtfrno and hence coma. In Provencal quo and fom are tht 
wordv for come and skcome. See Donkin, Etymological Dic- 
tvmary, and Dt Siena's nole an the word, Compare Purg^ 
Mdii, 34-36 : — 

" Chi crederebbe che V odor d' un porno 
Si governasse, gcncrando brama, 
E qtiel d' un acqua, nan sapendo como 7 " 
^ t^pitasion ; "OppHtin' i uno verbo latino, che stgnihca 
t^Tire c chiuderc. Laonde son chiamati dai medici qucgli 
cht hanno di sorte chiusc c serrate per esser ripjene di vapori 
gr"i«%i, Ic vene, che gli spirit! e la virtu nutrttiva non posson 

eBirc t andare per le parti del corpo dove fa di bi»ogno 
^ E sr si fa per sorte tale oppila^ione in quelle vie che 
kwno a passare gif spiriti che vcnno da '1 cuore al cervcllo, 
foomo c«de subilamcnie senza scntlrsi in terra; e da questo 
Imcc il maj caduco c le sincopc^ chiamale dit noi vmtrsi nunot 
t*ItTi accident! simili." (Gclli). 

lO ptAtntia di Dio quant' d scvfra: Wiltc reads quanto se' 
^! 1 confess 1 do not understand how this can be lollowed 
'vicia in the third person singular. One would rather 
.1 crau i. Either lei us read : — 

quanta s*-' vtra f 
Ch* cotui colpi per vendetta crosct. 
"* quanto i nevera, 

Cht cotai colpi per vendetta crosda. 

^^^Wn read giuithia for potenzta ; but« as Scarlazzini observes, 

t^todden transformation of the sinner demonstrates, not only 

""* jttiticc of God. but much more His Omnipi>tencc, His 

aticc IS already apparent in all the other penalties of HcH. 

fcnncw : DanicHo says that cratciare itignifies^ '^ con impcto 

Geli) thmk& it is. a metaphor taken from torrents 


Readings ott tfa Inferno. Canto xxrv. 

And as ts he who falls, and knows not how — 
either by some demoniac power that drags him to 
ihe ground, or by some other obstruction (of ihci 
vital powers) that fetters a man — who, when hel 
rises up, stares around him all bewildered by thei 
great suHerins^ he has undergone, and as he looks, ; 
si^hs ; such was this sinner after he had risen. 
Oh power of God, how stern it is, that showers 
down such strokes for vengeance ! 

Division IV. — As soon as the shade of the thie£ 

has recovered himself^ Virgil address<:s him, and 

lea rns that he was Vanni Fucci of Pistoja., 

Lo Duca il domand6 poi chi egli era; 

Perch' ei rlspose : " lo ptowi * di Toscana 
Poco tempo ^,+ in quests gola fera. 

Vita bestial mi piacque, e noir umana, 

of rain or from any falling waters^ *^che si dtcono rreisrwn^ 
quando piovono e si vcrsono abbondantissimamentc.** 

*piovvi: Piovere, f'iovitto is used more than once by Dante 
to describe the shades of the lo&t being cast headlong down to 
their doom. Compare In/, viii, 82, 8^, where of the Fiends at 
the gates of Dis Dante says ;^ 

** lo vidi piu di mille in auUe porte 
Da' cicl piovuti." 
Also Inf. XXX, q^, 95, whore th^- coiner, Maestro AdAino 
Brescia, says of the two other shades: — 

" Qui li trovai» c poi volta non diemo. 

. . . quand' io piowi in qucBto ^reppo." 
Compare too Puici, Morgmite Ma^gwrr^ Canto ii, st. ji : — 
" lo voglio atidar a scoprir quell' avdlo. 
La dnve e' par che queJla voce s* oda j 

, , , Scutjpri, se vi fussi dcntro 
Quanti ne ptowon mai dal cXcX nel centro.** 
And Frezzi, // Qnadrire^io^ lib. iv, cap. 5 :-*- 
" Li maladetti piovuti da ciclo." 
t Pern Umpo i : Vanni Fucci Is said to have died in 1993. 

?ant^bciv. Readings on the Inferno, 


St come a mul ch' io fgi ;* son V'anni Fucci.t 125 
Bestia, } e Pi&loja mi fu degna tana." — ^ _ 

My Leader then asked him who he was : where- I 

upon he answered : " I rained {i.e. was cast head- ^ 

longj down from Tuscany a. short time ago into /^ 

ihis cruel gullet. A bestial life, and not human, { 

pleased me, like the mule {he. bastard) that I \ 
was, I am Vanni Fuccii brute beast^ and Pistojax"'^ 
was fof me a fitting den," 

\^ an ni Fucci^ who was probably funning away from 
' the serpents, stops on hearing Dante speak pf him to 

♦ mul ch' io/ui : Meaning Ihat he was a bastard. " Et nota, 
quod i&te fuit mulus naturaliter f;t moraliter, quia fuit spurtus, 
natus dc spuria. Mulus enim nascitur ex damnato coitu^ 
»cUicet ex cqua et asino ; el plus sequitur asinum, quam equam, 
licet vocavciit se ncpotem cqut coram leane : est animal durum^ 
aptum Uboribus et verberibus, rctrugraduin, peninax ; et talis 
cfat jl]« fur obstinatus. Mulus est irrationabilis ct mcorrigi- 
bilis, dc quo dicil prophets in Psalmis; nuiiiefitri stent iqutts et 
■w/iUf in ^uibws noH est iitleikctui." (Benvenuto). 

t Vanni Fucci was the ilkgitimate son of Messer Fucci de' 
l^rnxxvit of a noble family of Pisloja. Landino says he was a 
mui of Cruel, tyrannical and brutish ways. Rartoli (Storia 
dtUs Lctttratura Italiani^ voL vi, part il, pp. SS, 89) thinks that 
E>iifite'$ introduction of him in this passage Ls not so much 
from the wish to brand him with infamy as the thief who 
robbed "the Sacristy of the Fair Ornaments," as to vilify the 
Black Guelph, the *'man of blood and wrath," the hated cituen 
of that Pi&tDJa which waa a worthy den {taHa) of such a wild 
bcftst (betiia). wherein were generated those two factions and 
names (Nfri and Bianrki)^ which were to move the soul of the 
exile to »P much indignation, and resuscitate in it such bitter 
mcfnorjeB. In the Istorit PistoUii^ pp^ ^'19-, ^ number of his 
imtrdcrcrua crimes arc recounted. Referring to these, Bartoli 
coibcludcH^ "Well can wc understand then why Danfe puts 
jalo (he^ mouth of such a. man the words Vita he^tial mi piticqiUj 
4 mem umana ; and well can we understand that it is with grim 
sjitM£aclion that on that detested brow he has stamped the 
mark of the thief." 

I b<it»a : " Et perch* eKii era bestiaie fa chiamato Vanni 
bcstia." \Anvmmo Fiorfntino). *' Bea«l V*nni " appears thcre- 
fant to have been his popular designation. 

sSo Readings on the Inferno. Cajito X3t? 

V irgil as a man_fgrmerly known to him for his evil j 

re putation. He then relates his sacrileEri ^v^ gpmt».^"T 
for which he is in Hell. 

Ed io al Duca : — '* Digli che non muccj,* 

E doiTtanda qua] cnjpa quaggii^ t i) pinse; 

Ch' io il vidi unmo di sangue c di crucci/' — 
E il peccator, che inteae, non s' infinse, 

Ma drizzo verso mc V animo e il volto, 

£ di trista vergDgna si dipinse : | 

* mjtcci from mucciare, which Blanc ( Voc, Dant,} «ays is a word 
of uncertain origin^ probably meaning "to depart.*' Gclli(who 
has a duplicate lecture on this part of the Canloj at p. 448»a>-s 
that mucciarf mcans^ to run away, now in this dtrcciton now in 
that, so as not to be captured. At p. 463 he repeats : ^' ch4 mm 
rnuui, that is, not to run away, for this is the stgniticalion of 
muetiart', a word much in use in Ihoae times (1300), but now-a- 
days (1560) entirely fallen into disuse." Scartazzini quotes 
from Vincenzo Buonanni (Discorso sopni id ^rhna Canika d<i 
ifivifiisiimo thiohgo Uanti d'AltghUri Jt: Bdh, Ftrenfc^ 1573)> 
who explains that tmuccian ii> said of anything that from its 
slipperincss escapes from the hand and cannot be held tight ; 
in fact, the more one squeezes it, the more it slips out of the 
hand. In Sicilian tttmnucaQfi is a c.rt. signifying "to bide" 
(See Biundi, Diziouario Siciiiauo-Halianu^ PaEermo, 1^57^ 

Compare Fra Jucopotif da 7"i«/j, iii, 6, 39 ; — 
'* Venjtel a pigliarc, 
Che non ne pu6 mucciare." 

t ^uag^i^ : Dante is cither surprised, or pretenda to be ko^ at 
seeing Vanni Fucci so low down in Hell as the Boigia of the 
Thievca. He says; "1 knew him as a man of blood and 
wrath," as though hinting that he might rather have expected 
to find htm in the rivef of blood for his homicidal propcn&itscs, 
or in the swamp of the Styx for his rage and fury. For the 
word ifuag^isi^ compare also the beauttlul passage in /■/. i\, 
ig<2t, where Virgil tells Dante that the depth of pity he fceU 
for the souls o( the lost 15 the cause of his patlor: — 
". . . L' angoacia delle genti 

Che son quaggiii, nel visa mi dipigne 
Quclla pietil chc lu per lema scnti/' 

I si dipittsf : Compare Pur^, iij &2 :— 

" l>i maravtglia, credo, mi dipinsi." 


Santoxxrv. Readings on the Inferno, 



Poi disae : — *' Piil mi duol chc lu m' hai colto 
NeUa miseria dove tu mi vcdi, 
Chc quando fui dcH' altra vita talto. 

lo non posso negar quel chc tu chiedi \ 
In giu son mcsso tanto, perch' io fui 
Ladra alta saCrEstia de' belli arredi ; ** 

£ falsamente giiL fu appo&to aUrui. 

Ajid 1 to my Leader: "Tell him not to slip away, 
and ask him what crime thrust him down here : for 
I knew him by sight as a man of blood and wrath." 
And the sinner, who heard, made no false pretence, 
but turned full upon me hi)^ attention and his face, 
and crimsoned with ignominious shame* Then he 
said : " It ijrieves ine more that thoo hast sur- 
prised me in the misery wherein thou seest me, 
than -when I was taken from the other life (by 
a disj^ceful death). 1 may not refuse what thou 
a&kcst : 1 am put $0 far down, because I was the 
thief in the Sacristy of the Fair Ornaments; and 
accusation was falsely laid to another. 


Landing thus relates the story of the robbery, and 
the HiTsc imputation of it to _an innocent man ; _" It 
ctianced a bout this time, that one evening many of 
the ati jcns of Fistoja had a supper, and wh en ihey 
roiOroin table, they went singin g through Jhe streets 
of tE e"aly {cmUaron o pet la terta^ with lutes and j^n- 
rtmroents of music, and in d_ue_ course __rgached the 

*M£rniia dt' hcUi atreJi : Blanc (Saggia) aslts : " Are we to 

utt (his, l(tdr(f ifr' btUl arredi alia sacratiii, or to join 

•^■'Yifi* w)ih ii**' bfHt arreiii ? " (The second appears to us the 

natural and probable of the two, for Ibc reason (bat the 

' :l[.*l *if San (iiaccmio at Pisloja was universally ccUbrattd 

: ah, and wiis called " il 'I'esoro,^'} Scartaf^ini think:^ 

.' lie* billt iirrait wasa poetical pafilphrase ofthc name 

ropni which had been given to the Sacri&try t»f San Giacomn 

•I Pistoja. Sec also Lftttredi Scba&tianDCiamp'j iopru ia inter- 

if HA vtrsodi Dunk nelia Cn 



' Infr^ 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto 

house of Ser Vanni dellaNona, a notarj- of excellent 
reputation and of upright ways, and who was himself 
present as one of the company. Here they slopped 
and gave a serenade, because the wife of Vanni de)la 
Nona was a lady of great worth and very beautiful 
Iwithal. Me anwtnle Van ni Fucci, e ver>' thought of 
■ whose heart was to do evil, with two companions 
/ ' y^alked towards the mshop's palace, which was very 
near the^ house ol Ser Vanni, Here, it is said by 
some, tifey chanced to find the door of the Church 
and Sacristy of San Giacomo standing open, perhaps 
by the negligence of the priests, who, because it was 
carnival time, had, according to their custom, gone 
out that night to amuse themselves. Others say 
that the thieves opened the door with pick-locks and 
skeleton-keys (com ingegni e gn'maldegli aperscro\ and 
then robbed the Sacristy of all the silver and gems 
of the altar of San Jacopo, which were of immense 
value. With this booty they rejoined their com- 
panions. These, although they severely reproved 
them for their crime, came notwithstanding to an 
agreement with the culprits, that the stolen goods 
should be concealed in the house of Ser Vanni ; 
\ first, because it was the nearest place, and secondly, 
because they calculated that no one woutd ever think 
of searching the house of a man with so excellent a 
reputation. The next morning the Canons discovered 
the robbery, and gave notice of it to the Podesti. He 
al once set to work with the greatest activity, and 
examined and put to the torture every one who was 
known to have a bad name. In t his__^^v it came 
about, that many who were innocent of this particular 




Canto XXIV. Readings on the Inferno. 


crime^ in t he agon y of the torture confessed to other 
ddinqu encies of wh jch they wpre guilty^ and aojl'ere 
justly condemned to death. At last they arrested 
Messer Rampino, son of Messer Francesco Foresi, a 
noble citizen, and although he did not confess to this 
crime, of which he was really innocent, yet as he was 
a very bad character, the Podestd was so incensed 
against him, that he determined to put him to death 
anJess within a certain limit of time he disclosed 
where the stolen property was hidden. On hearing 
this Messer Francesco [his father], in utter despair, 
had plotted with his kinsmen and friends that on the 
night preceding the last day of grace, they should 
make a rush upon the palace of the Podest^, set it 
on fire, and forcibly rescue his son. But Vanni Fucci, 
who had taken refuse at Monte Caregli in the terri- 
tory of Florence, having a great affection for Kampino, 
advised Messer Francesco to ^et Ser V'anni [della 
Nona] arrested. This was effected one morninj^ in 
Lent, when he was in the Church of the Minor Friars 
listening to a sermon, and he was taken to prison to 
the great indignation of the people, who believed him 
to be a man of great virtue. Vanni della Nona then 
admitted that the stolen property was all in his house. 
and that although he had often attempted to convey 
it out of the city, every time that he approached the 
gale it seemed to him to see the officers coming to 
•earch for it. Fnr this he was hung, and Rampino 
was set at liberty." T hat is why the real robber, 
Vanni Fucci. tells Uante falsam ^nk g'^ fif ^>f*f^^it^ 
tUnii aWiidmii to the unfortunate Vanni della Nona. 

No w: Vanni Fucci. writhing with malignant rage at 

Readings on the tnfemo. Canto XScrvT 

the tho ught that Dante, who is not only a Tuscan , but 
also one of the dete sted facti on of the Biamht, should 

have^en him in <iitnh ^p^a^fltlnn and misKrv. hv vva\' 

of vindictively embittering any delight that Dante 
ma y feel, prophesies to him the impending disc ogi- 
forture of t he Whites. Blan c remarks that this 
p rediction is by no means so intelirgible as those of 
Ciacco and Farinata, which are confirmed by sub- 
sequent history. The present piediction is very- 
ambiguous and vague* but the followln^se&ms to be 
a fair su ininai^ i u f llie events i n quuHli on aa narrated 
by Dino Campagnl (CSprxTiJr^^lani (lib. vii])i Blanc 
(SaggioTTDl SlenaTBarloii and Scartazzini. 

In A.D. 1301 the Bianchi of Pistoja, with the help 
of the Bianchi of Florence, drove the i\eri out of the 
city. The latter took refuge at Florence, and making 
common cause with the Neri there, effected a com- 
plete reversion of power. In the autumn of ijoi 
Charles de Valois entered Florence, and from that 
moment began the triumph of the Neri with merci- 
less reprisals against the Bianchi, In 1302 the Scri 
of Florence and Lucca together laid siei^e to Pistoja, 
the only great stronghold remaining to the Bianchi, 
but without success. It was probably during this 
campaign^ and before their combined forces captured 
Pistoja in 1306, that the battle was fought which 
Dante describes as occurring in the Campo Piceno. 
The allied forces of Florence and Lucca were then 
commanded by Moroello Malaspina,* Marchess di 

* MofoiUo Maia&pina ; Bftiioli {vp. cit. Vol. vi, in the Appendix. 
pp. 280, aSt) says that this ptTsonage was the grandHon of 
Conrad I, Marchcse Malaspmii, bj his third son Manfrrdi. 

^anto XXTV. Readings on the Inferno. 


Giovagallo in the Val di Ma^ra, and he laid siege to 

the ihen important castle of Serravalle, a fortress 

(the ruins of which may still be seen) which defended 

the narrow gorge between Pistoja and Pescia, and 

Ihrough which the Pisa-Lucca-Pistoja railway now 

runs. The Pistojese gathered all the strength they 

could muster, and attacked the forces under Moroello, 

but being defeated with great loss, the stronghold of 

^^Serravalle fell into the hands of the Ncri Poletto 

^^l^Dizionario Dantcsco) thinks that the Catnpo Piceno 

r is part of the wide plain of Pescia between Serravalle 

2nd Montecatini, 

Vanni Fucci's malevolent words conclude th e / 
Canto- / 

Ma perch^ di tal vista tu non godit 
Sc mai sarai di fuor de' lochi bui, 
Apri gli orecchi a! mio annunfio, ed odi: 
Pistoja in pria di Negri si dimagra, 
Poi Fiorenra rinnuova genii* e modi,t 


ho became the independent Marchese di Giovagallo. This 
Conrad I was usually styled V antko. The Conrad whom Dante 
meets in the Happy Valley of the great Princes in Purgatory 
(Pmrg. viii). was Conrad II, also a grandTfon of Conrad I, by his 
■econd ton Fcdtrigo, and therefore Hrst cousin of the Moruello 
wc «rc dificusKing. In Purg. viii, 118, iig, Conrad II thus 
pointedlly distirtguishes between himself and Conrad I : — 

t**Chiamato fui Corrado Malaspina : 
Non son I' antico, ma di lui discesi." 
* niauova gtnti : After the entrance of Charles dc Valoia 
into Florence in Novernbcr, 1301^ Cnrso de Donatio with 
many of his followers among the N^ri, was recalled from 
banishment, and entered the citV" In the following Aprit 
(ijoaj Ihc Bi4i'n:Ui were expelled from Florence. 

^nu74i : Nearly all the Commentators explain this as mean- 
ing wMli di governare. Before the coming of Charles de VaSoJa, 
the Signoria of Florence waa in the hands of the Bianchi ,- but 
after hi» arrival it paaaed into those of the N<ri, " Ceeaata la 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxT 

Tragge Martt vapor di val di Magra * 145 

Ch' & di lorhidi muvoli involutOT 
E con tempcsta tmpetuosji. ed agra f 

Sopra campo Piccn Ba cambattuto : 

Ond' ei repente spezzer^ la nebbia^ 
Si ch* ogni Bianco ne sarS, feruto : 

E detto r ho, perch£ dotor ti debbia." 

But that thou mayest not exult overthis sight (of me), 
if ever thou shall be out of these abodes of gloom, 
open thine eyes to my announcement, aad hearken ; 
first Pjstoja is stripped of the Ncri, then Florence 
must renew herself and her ways (of governmg)^ 
Mars (f.f. war) evokes a storm-cloud from Val di 
Magra (i,t\ Moroello Malaspina) which is en- 
veloped in turbulent clouds (i.e. the undisciplined j 
soldiery of the Neri), and with an impetuous &nd 
1 cruel tempest there shall be fought a battle on the 
\\ Pescian pla,in ; whereupon it &hall suddenly rend 
Vl the mist, in such wise that every Bianco shall be 
\wounded by it. And I have told this in order 
that it may distress thee." 

Van ni Fucci did not make these prediction s^ as 
Tommas^o and others contend, because Dante was a 
Guelph, for Dante was not by an y means a Guelp h 
at tllclt' tinitl. He had only ^een s q \fi his f ;a'")y 

detta tuina. c inccndia messere Carlo col suo consiglio rifor- 
macon la signoria del priorato di popolani [/A< mutdte cUtis"} di 
parte Nera, (G. VilUnJ, lib. viii^ tap. 49). 
* val di Magra ; Compare Purg. viii, 115-117: — 
" . . . Se novella vera 

Di Vatdiniacra o di parte vicina 
Sai, dilla a me, che gi^ ptrande Ilk era." 
t agra r "Cruel, ferocious, barbarous." Villani (viii, cap. 
relates that while the Florerxtines 9nd the Lucchcse were be- 
sieging Pisloja^ they prevented the inhabitants from leaving 
the city, and cut off a foot from every male, and the nose of 
every female whom they captured. 


Canto XXIV* Readings on the Inferno. 


you th from family t^-at^ition^ not from conviction. 
In ^300 he was a Bianco^ wit h a strong tendency to 
GhtbeT Tinism. Di Siena remarks that It is certainly 
n6r~as a (juelph that Dante, in the first Canto, re- I 

latcg Tjjs terror of the she-wolf, and his l on ging CJi-^" 
pectation of the VdirOf who i s to drive the wolf fro m 
city to city until he hinally expels her from Italy. 



RiodtHgs on the tsifemo. Canto 




There is no break or change of scene between the 
conclusion of the tast Canto and the opening of the 
present one, as is so often the case in the Inferno. 
The interview with Vanni Fucci is carried on with- 
out interruption. 

Benvenuto divides the Canto into four parts,* 
In Division I, from ver. i to ver. 33, Dante describes 
the brutish and impotent rage with which Vanni Fucci 
blasphemes God, and the well-deserved punishment 
that follows. 

In Division II, from ver. 34 to ver. 78, Dante wit- 
nesses the torments of three nobles of Florence, who 
are of the second category of Thieves, that is, though 
confirmed and habitual criminals, yet havini: some 
compunction as regards the property of their own 

•Though 1 have followed the dmgions of Bcnvcnulo, I do 
not feel that in this Canto they are satisfactory. 

Readings on the Inferno. 


In Division III, from ver 79 to ver. 102, Benvenuto 
thinks Dante is speaking of a third class of Thieves, 
whose nature is so depraved that they become trans- 
formed from men into serpents. 

In Divkion IV, from ver. 103 to ver. 151, two of 
the shades, one of whom had retained his human 
form, and the other had been transformed into a 
serpent, interchange their shapes. 

Division L~As soon as Vanni Fucci has concluded 
his malignant prediction about the evils that will 
befall the White faction in Florence, a prediction 
uttered solely for the purpose of distressing Dante, 
he turns his bestial and impious fury into blasphem- 
ing against God. Tradition says that in the city 
of Prato there existed a statute, which imposed a 
penalty of ten lire, or a public whipping, on whom- 
soever should venture to make the opprobrious sign 
(^k fich€, or to turn the buttocks towards Heaven, 
or towards any image either of God or of the Virgin 
Man.- Benvenuto asks why Dante should have 
drawn a picture of such incredible turpitude, and 
answers his own question by e?cplaininj^ that it is 
done " the better to e!(hibit the diabolical nature 
of the man» who, besides having been a violent 
robber and a fraudulent thief, was exceedingly arro- 
gant. v\T3thful and blasphemous^ and had moreover 
Ihiii antiquated mode in his way of sinning, that 
whenever he got irritated at the slightest thing, he 
*'ould immediately break out into blasphemies against 
God, as some accursed persons always do, who fear 
nn God whatever," 


Readings on the In/errto, Canto XXV, 

Al Guie delJc sue paro]e il ladro 

Le mani atzd con ambedue le dche^* 

*kfii'he: The expression /tir /.f^cAtf is a sign of gross rnsult 
very common among all southern nations m Europe, and 
throughout the East, It is made by thrusting the thumbs 
through the fore and middle fingers of the closed fist, with the 
idea of imitating what \s an object of shame. Getli relates 
the legend, told also by others, of how during the year 116a, 
the Emperor Frederictt Barbarossa besieged and captured the 
city of Milan, which, during his absence in Germany, had 
revolted against his authority. His indignation was especially 
amused by the gross contumely to which one of hia daughtera 
had been subjected. The citizens, after sacking and burning 
his palaces, placed the maiden upon a she mule with her face 
to the tail, which they constrained her to hold as a bridle, and 
then drove her out of^the city. When Milan capitulated, the 
Emperor resolved to spare the people for their revolt, but to 
take fierce vengeance on those who had insulted his daughter, 
and accordingly he took a hundred of the most notabEc among 
the citizens^ and condemned them to be burnt alive, but with 
this proviso, that pardon would be granted to any of them who 
consented to remove a fig with their mouths from the secret 
parts of a shc-mule publicly in the principal sauare of the city. 
Which thing was done (except in the case of some few who 
preferred to be burned) by all nf them ; and for some time 
afterwards Frederick's satellites, by way of jeering at them, 
would thrust their hand^ into their faces with this ignoble 
sign, exclaiming: "Now come and pull this outl" meaning 
with Ihcir thumbs to indicate the Rg projecting out of the 
she>mulc. G^ Vtllani, lib. vt, cap. 5, relates that in 1238 the 
Florentines, making war in the territory of Pistoja, captured 
the castle of Carmignano. Upon the keep of this castle the 
Piatojese had formerly erected a tower 70 ells in height, on 
the top of which were two huge arms made of marble, the 
hands of which were making the sign of U fich* in Ihc direc- 
tion of Florence. This tower had long been an object of 
intense irritation to the FiorenlineSj and when once they had 
got possession of it, they ra^ed it to the ground. 

A curious parallel to this is to be found at Baste, which is 
divided into Great Baste on the left bank of the Khinc. and 
Little Basle on the right. In the Munster, underneath the 
Conciliumsaal, is the Chapel of St. Nicholas, where is pre- 
served the Lallerkonig, a head which was brought there in 
i8jg from a window of the tower at the end of the bridge, and 
which was made to put out its tongue and rrtU its cye« in 
deriaion of the inhabitants of Klein Basel. The&e, in revenge. 


Canto XXV. Readings on the Ittfsmo. zgi 

GridandoL — "Togli,* Iddio, chft a te le squadro." — t 

put up on tTicir side a figure making an indecent gesture of 

^Togti: Nannucci (Anatisi Crilica dci Vtrbi, p. tto) says 
that a similar expression is found in Buonarroti (the younger) 
FAuid, Act L, sc. I : — 

'* Un ciltadin la Tancia ? oli, toli ! " 
7WJ is for toti [it. from (tjiire from iokre). Nannucci says that 
tbc exclamation toU i-s supposed to be accompanied by the in- 
aulting iign tti U Jkke, the action denoting; what thing one is 
asked to take. Petrarch^ Pari iv, sonnet 16^ attributing lo the 
endowments ofConstantine the wickedness of the Papal Court 
of his time, addresses it thus; — 

!" Fontana di dolore, albergo d* ira, 
Scola d* crrori, e tempio d' ercsia ; 
^^ G\k Koma, or Babilonia falsa c ria, 

^^ Per eui tanto si pia^ne e si aospira: 

^H O fucina d' inganni, d prigion dira, 
^H Ove 1 hen more, c 1 mal si nutre e cria ; 

^H Di vivi inferno ; un gran miracol fia 

^B Se Cristo (eco at 6ne non s' adira. 

^H Fondata in casta ed umil povcrtate^ 

^H Contra tuoi fondaton a\r.\ le corna, 

^B PuHa sfacciata ; e dov' hai posto spent ? 

^B Negli adulten tuoi, nelU mat nale 
^H RichczjEc tantc ? or Costantin non torna ; 

^r Ma tolga i\ mondo tristo che '1 sostene." 

The Poet Lcopardi in the edition of Petrarch commenltd by 
htrn, Florence, Le Mannier^ iS54i says of these last two lines, 
that they had been the despair of all Commentators until a 
karned man of" Florence gave them an interpretation which 
he (Lcopardi) neither dares to accept or to reject. This 
scholar compared the passage in Petrarch to this very pss- 
tage in DanlCt and considered that Ihc (olga in Petrarch had 
the tame aigniftcalion as lhe/f*jf/f in Dante, and that the words 
lo/|(tf ii mondo, where /(//^ii docs not govern any expressed case, 
miul be taken to signify i7 ntotido toiga U fiche, thai is. let the 
world which has to endure t-o much wickedness, receive the 
ooniumcly due to it. Nannucci {op. cii.} also quotes the last 
line of the pasi^age in Petrarch as an instance of the iniiuh 
covertly conveyed in the word tu!ga. The Proven^aux say 
Touts; Ihc Venetians^ TuU ; and the Calabrians, Tc*' ; ail 
implying the Hamc inault^ 

fat^lt ti[Uiufru: The verb siiuiuirare i^ properly to adjust, 
to kveU to measure with a square, and here mcan» ** 1 adjust^ 
11. la 

sga Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxv. 1 

At the end of his words the thief upraised both his 1 

J hands with the obscene signs, yelling: "Take 1 

IH that. God, for at Thee do I level them/' 1 

^H Benvenuto considers that Vanni Fucci's explosion 
^1 of rage was because he had been obliged to confess 
^H his hitherto unrevealed crime to a living Tuscan, 
^B who would recount the true story among his kinsfolk : 
^H and hence his shame and fury. 

^M His blasphemy is scarcely uttered when swift 
^H retribution comes upon him. 

^^^^H Da indi in qua mi fur \c sctpi Btnichc, 
^^^^^^^^_ Perch' una ^\'\ s' avvoUc allora all colla, s 
^^^^^^^^B Come diccK^e :^" lo non vo' che piCi diche : "— 
^^^^^^^^K Ed un^ altra allc bra^cia, e rilegpllo, 
^^^^^^^^^P Kibadenda* sc stessa si dinan^i, 
^^^^^^^^^ Che non potea con esse dare un crollo. 

^H I direct, I point them at Thee ! " Hut^ as Biagioli remarks, it 
^H is by no means easy to render the full force of Ihc word as 
^^M psed in this passage 

^^M * Ribciiliiido : Some read ribattc-mfv. but l)larii>M6\i^j^ti:j} sava 
^H there is no doubt of ribiutmiio bcin^i Ihe m<irc Tuaciin c^fprc't- 
^H sion of the two, and the variant was probably due to copyists 
^H who did not know the word ri/tadfniio, Ribiuiin is the regular 
^H word in Tui^cany which meansi to clinch the point of a nail. 
^H The theory held by some modprn Commtntatora that the 
^^^ serpents pierced right throuj^h the body behind and clinched 
^^1 themselves in front, is, 1 think, whnlly unnc(;es!»arv- The ■ 
^H serpents coiled round the arms of the lh\<:i, and then parsing 1 
^^B their tnils. between his legs, got th^t purchase in fr''>nt. which 
^H all serpents do, holding on with their tads to trees and such 
^H like, when crushing their prey. Huti explains it thus in very M 
^H plain simple language : " Ribadendtt si stissa si d' inanti ■ pcrd 1 
^^m dice d' inanzi, impero che Ic mani erano legale di retro cnn le " 
^H serpe, et awolta era pni d' inanii mojli! strclla/* etc. In the 
^^1 illustration of the scene by liolticclh, all the »iix feet of the ■ 
^^1 dragon are repre.'^cnlcd exactly as in tht: IcxI, «ncl the tail, 1 
^V pHfising between the legu, runs up the bnek In };et its proper I 
^^L purchase. ■ 

!aTH^SV. Readings oft the ht/erno. 




Froin that time forth the serpents were my good 
friendsj for one of them forthwith coiled itself 
about his neck, as though it would say: ** I will 
not have thee utter more : " and another (serpent 
coiled) about his arirts, and bound him over again, 
clinching itself so tightly In front, that he could 
not even give a shake with them. 

Vanni Fucci had blasphemed God both by voice 
and by the action of his hands. Thereupon one 
serpent coils about his throat, compressing it so 
tightly as to stop all power of utterance, and the 
other pinions his arms, thus rendering it impossible 
for them again to perform the impious gesture de- 
scribed above. And not only does the serpent pinion 
his arms, but it repinions them {rilegoUo)^ for in 1. 94 
of the last Canto we read that all the Thieves had 
got their hands bound with serpents. We may re- 
member that Vanni Fucci had been bitten by a ser- 
pent, and reduced to ashes; it would seem then that 
when he reappeared in his human form, he had en- 
joyed a temporary respite from the coils about his 
hands, and, as he at once abused that liberty by his 
impious gesture, the ministers of vengeance bind 
bim in tighter bonds than before. 

Dante cannot restrain himself from declaiming 
ai|^ainst ihe birth-place of a being so odious. 

Ahi Pisloia, Pistoift,,* ch6 non atanjEi 10 

*Ahi Piitoia, Pi&toia : This fierce utterance against Piatoja 
"^unlike that which Dante speaks against Pisa {/"/. xxxiii, 
[for having permitted the true! death of Count Ugolino 
Sis family to take place within its walls: — 
" Ahi Piba, vitupcrjo dcllc genti 

Del bcl pacse 1^,, dove i) Si suona ; 
Poi che i vicini a Ic punir son lent), 


Readings mi the hxfcnw. Canto XS 

D' incentrartif si che pii non duri, 
Poi chc in mal far lo seme tuo* avanzi« 

Movasi la Caprara e la GorgDna, 

E faccian siepe ad Arno in sulln foce, 
Si ch" egh anneghi in te ogni persona," 
See also Ibid. 11. 131-153* Danlc's denunciation of the Geno- 
ese: — 

" Ahi Genovesi, uomini diveraj 

D* ogni castume, e pien d' ognl m&gagna, 
Perchti non sicte voi del mondo spersi ?" 
Florence is alluded to all through Dante's works both of poetry 
and prose in terms ofintensc love for the place, and bitter hatred 
against its inhabitants. The instances are too numerou* to 
quote, but in Inf. xv, 61^ 62, he calls the Florentines qucW ingrato 
popoh m&ii^no, Che ifisasf di Fusole ab antico ; and thiii. L 68, 
gentf avarut invidivsa e superba^ etc, Siena is reviled for its 
vBinity in Itif- JExijt, i^i, 122; the inhabttania of the Vailky 
of the Arno in Pur^- xiv, and those of Komagfta in the same 
Canto; while the whole body t>f the States of Italy ere held 
up to general reprobation in Purg. vi. 

* to s(mt tuo : According to oid tradition, Pistoia was founded 
by the escaped remnant of Catilint^'s defeated soldier;^, but 
Benvenuto thinks this must be false, for not only did the ctly 
exi^t long before the time of Catiline, but iDoreover if Sallusl, 
an illustrious and truthful citizen, is to be believed, there was no 
remnani of the rebellious forces of Catiline left, and they were 
destroyed nearly Lo a man. GL-tli thinks Pistoja was gradu- 
ally colonised on account of its convenient pusiiion at the foot 
of the Apennines, and from it? being much used by travellers 
paaaJng backwards and forwards between Tuscany and Lom- 
bardy ; since the valley of the rivt'r Reno, which flow* down 
from the watershed of the Apennines to Bologna, ia the most 
convenient highway in the whole chain of those mounlaint>. 
Gell) obBcrves that two or three hundred years before his time 
the road over the Apennines was much frequented, because 
many hospitals or refuges had been built all along it fvr way- 
farers gning to Rome for the jubilee, by the Countess Matelda. 
But as Florence increased in importance^ travcllera to Rumc 
preferred going that way. and coniiequently the road through 
the Valley of the Kcno fell into disuse, and in process of time 
was gradually broken down by the annuftl floods of the ri\er. 
The author «i the Chioit A^wnvne (ed. Sclmi) thinks the Romans 
defeated Catiline on the ground where Pjstoja stands. »nd that 
the City Was built by those who remained wounded and muti- 
lated on the 6e1d of battle, and that the name Pisioja was 
another word iat pestiita&ux (" pestilence"). 



lanto XXV. Readings on the tn/ento. 


Per lutti i cerchi dell' inferno oscuri 

Non v]di spirto in Dio tanto supcrbo, 
Non quel che cadde a Tebe * gii^ da muri. 

Ah Pifitoja, Pistoja, why dost thou not decree to 
reduce thyself to ashes, so that thou e.^ist no 
longer, since in deeds of evil thou ootdoest thy 
progenitors (lit. seed). Through all the dark 
circles of Hell saw I no spirit so arrog'ant against 
God, not even that one (Capaneua) who fell down 
from the waits at Thebes. 



^*enuto argues that if the arrogance of Capaneus 
was such, that he was struck down by a thunderbolt 
frona Heaven, and if, as we are now told, Vanni Fucci 
was even more arrogant than Capaneus, it follows 
that Vanni Fucci must have been the most arrogant 
spirit in all Hell. 

His pride is humbled, he makes a hasty retreat^ 
and we see no more of him. A new form takes his 
place in the shape of Cacus, called by Dante a Cen- 
taur, probably because Virgil speaks of him as half a 
man. His vocation in Hell seems to be partly that 
of a punished sinner, and partly that of a minister 
of punishment, for he comes in hot pursuit of the 
fugitive Vanni Fucci, who had very likely fled on 
seeing him approach, and yet at the same time 
C&cus is himself so overloaded with serpents as to 
form a conspicuous object even in that serpent* 
thronged pit. 

* ^uti eiu eaddi a Ttbe : This refers to Cap&neus. 
Bv. 46-71, *ftd especially 11. 63-66 :— 

" O Capanco, in ci6 che non a' ammor^a 
La tua ttupcrbia. se' tu pit) punito 1 

NuUo martirio, fuor che la tua rabbia, 
Sarebbe a I tuo furor dolor compito." 

See Inf. 

fig6 Readings oit the Infcnto. Canto XiV, 

Ei si fuggt, che non parl6 piu verbo : 

£d io vidi uri Ccn^auro * pien di r^ibbia 

Venir chiamando: — '* Ov' h\ Ov" £ 1' acerbo ? * — t 

Maremma \ non cred' io the tante n' abbia, 

Quante bisce egli avea su per la groppa, 20 

* CmiauTO : The curious blunder by which Dante describes 
Cacus as a Centaur is probably due to the recollection of a 
luisunderstood expression in Virgii (Ji«. viii, i^): — 

Semihmninh Caci facies. 
Cacus was a aemi-human and semi-brutish savage, who dwelt 
in a cave under Mount Aventine. Hercules, having brought 
the herds of Geryon from Spain, was being entertained by 
Evander, who had built a new town on the Palatine. Caciis 
took this opportunity to steal some of the oxen, and dragged 
them backwards by their tails into bis cave, so that their foot- 
marks pointed the opposite way, and Hercules could not at 
first discover them ; but when their lowing had revcaJed their 
position, he took prompt vengeance upon the thief. 

^ iiccrbo here is equivalent to indDHiuhile and superbo in a 
metaphorical sense. Compare Virg. v£n* v, ^61, 462 : — 
"Turn pater jlineas procedere longiua iraa, 
Et saevire animis Entellum haud passus aeerbis." 
In Par, xix, 46-48 Dante speaks of Lucifer faUing aarbt^ for 
a^frbamniti, " immature," i.e. before he had attained his fullcftt 
perfection :— 

" £ cio fa ocrto che il prima supcrbo, 

Che fu la somma d' ogni crealura, 
Per non aspettar lume, caddc acerbo." 

{ Marcmma : This word would, generally speaking, signify a 
region near the sea, being a corruption of maritttna, whence 
mttritma, mttrctma, and finatiy marcmma. The allusion here it 
of course made to the low-lying lands of Tuscany, w^hich arc 
best known as the Marcmma, that fatal region extending (see 
Inf. xiii, 9) between the river Cecina near Leghorn, and Cor- 
nelo^ a village in the former Papal States. Partly from the 
heat, partly from the wild and deserted stale of the countrv, 
partly from the pestilential ctimate, large quantities of &crpcnia 
arc to be found there. Ruti speaka of the Marcmnu a& a dis- 
trict in the Pisan territory' near the aca, and infcated by fiuch 
an abundance of serpents, that at Vada there was an cxcccd< 
ingly beautiful monastery %vhich is said Io have bcLOmc unin- 
habited from the vast number of serpents that made human 
life in it impogaible. Sec Forsyth's Itatyy voL J, p. tjy. 

Canto XXV. Readings on the Tnfemo. 


Infin dove comincia nostra labhia.* 
Sopra le spalle, dietro dalla coppa, 

Con I' ali Aperte gli giacea un draco,'!' 

* nostra iahbia : Although labhia is generally used to signify 
the &c«, expression^ as in Latin Os was used for vuUxAi, the 
part being taken by the figure Synccdothe to express the whole^ 
Gctli, Di Siena, CaBini^ and Scarta^^ini feel convinced that in 
this passage tabbia must he taken to mean the human part of 
Cacus's two-fold formation *' Quests voce /(i'j''>i*i (saya Oelli), 
se bene ella signiAca nel numcro del pifl e nel genere fenitni- 
fiitio Ic labbra, i'ignijicu net ntimero singntar'e u del mcno, f>ur 
mttltiimammtc ml gtnert /cmmitiiiw, ta saufjuitua e lit fj^^ic 
VMMna; non perch' ella dcrivi dalle labbra umane per qjucUa 
■pecic dclla iytimdocki che pone la parte pel Lutto, come dicono 
aJcunt espositon ; ma per avere deliberate e confermato co-s! 
r uao^ E in qucsto signiftcalo V usa qui ii Poeta, diccndo, 
ch' egli aveva plena di scrpi (a grappa ttisino a dov' et comiueiava 
Anrv sembiauta td effigic umaaa^ perch^ non si pu6 intendcre 
insino allc iabhra. Gelli quotes in illustration Petrarch, Triati/o 
iktr Amore, iv, 157-159: — 

" tn Cosi tenebrosa e sirctta gabbia 

Rinchiu^i fummo ; ovc Ic pennc usate 
Mutai per tempo e la mia prima labbia." 

Compaxc also Inf. vii, 7, where Plutus ]& spoken of as 
**. . . qucil' iiniiata.lAhhiA [thtit bloated rounienattcc]." 
Botticelli, who understood hi? D»nte far belter than moitt 
modem translators, in his illustrations of the JJ. C\ represents 
Cacus with a dragon on the nape of his neck, and a thiek 
cluHler of serpents all huddled up together upon his equine 
croup. His kunmn back bellow the shoulders 13 unoccupied. 

f^raeo: " Now here note (Rays FltnvcTiutoJ, that according 
(o ftomc HTiter^ there are certain species of dragons that By 
tbrough the air breathing flames out of their mouths, but 
Albcrtus Magnus does not think this can be true ; but rather 
that there are certain ignited vapours that really do seem to 
Ay, now ascending, now descending, so that inexperienced 
pcnoTift may have imagined that they were flying dragons. 
B«l however that may be, Dante has pictured his dragon here 
u iotncthinE; emitting flainc^ bccau^e this i^amc Cacus wa& ao 
open incendiBri)% who set fire to houses, and hk-w cver^'body 
he came atross. Well therefore has Virgil represented Cacus 
at th< son of Vulcan the god of fire, vomiting smoke and flame 
(rofki his mouth. And thcrclorc in this passage you must plcnae 
imdcrHland the dragon to signify the venomous rage which 
Cacu* poured forth upon all men, and from the heat ol hin 
wrath he almost seemed to dart forth lightnings." 

tg$ Readings on ike Inferno. Canto %xv. 

E quelto affoca* qualunque s' mtoppa. 

He (Vanni Fucci), who did not utttr another 
word, fled : and I saw a Centaur full of raj=^e come 
shoutinjLj ; "Where is he, where is the hardened 
wretch ? " I do not believe that Maremma con- 
tains as many f^nakes as he had upon his {fqutHc) 
croup, to where our [human) figure begins. Upon 
his shoulders, close behind the nape of the necJ£, a 
dragon with outspread wings was couching upon 
him, and that land sets on fire whomsoever it 

Virgil now tells the story of Cacus, and Bcnvenuto 
says that he does so from the threefold point of view, 
first, of his violence; secondly, of his deceit: and 
thirdly, of his ignominious death. 

Lo mio Maestro disse r — " Qucgli 4 Caco, »5 

Che sotto il sasso + di monte Aventino 
Di san}ijue fece spcssc volte lacn, 

Non va co' suoi fratei per uti cammino, 
Per lo furar che frodokntc fece 
Del grande armento } ch' eglt ebbe a vicino : 

'^quelh aff(na, etc : Dr. Mtiorc, Stmiici hi DanU^ i, pp. 173-6. 
says that IhiK is suggested by .^«, viii, 35,2'355 ;— 
" FaucibuK ingtntcm fumum, mirabilc dictu ! 
EvDmil involvitquc domum Caligine Caeca, 
Prospectunn cripiens oculis ; f^lomcrati^ue sub anirn 
Fumiferam noctem commixlis ignc tenebris/* 
^ Loiio il sassif, etc: In -^w. viii, 190-197, Virgil gives a de- 
Bcriplion of the cavern of Cacus •' — 

"Jam primum aaxis suspenRam hanc adspite nipem; 
Diajeclat procul ut moles, desertaquc monliB 
Stat domus, et scnpuli ingentem traxere ruinain. 
Hie spcEunca Tuh, vasto submola rccessii ; 
Semihnmtnis Caci facics quam dira tcncbat, 
Solts inaccesT^am rcidiis ; sctnperque rcccnti 
Caede tcpcbat humu» ; fnhbusque adAxa &upcTbIs 
Ora virlim tristi pcndebanl pallida tabo." 
I to furar . , . froiloktiU . . . Dei gran<U armntto : In ,*«. 
Lc. 207-311, the theft is thus described : — 

!anto XXV. Readings on ike Inferno. 



Onde ccssAr le sue opere hiece 

Sottd la mazza d' Ercolc,* che forse 
Gliene diS cento, + e non sent! le tliccc." — 

My Master said : " That is Cacus, who below 
the rock of Mount Aventine many a time made a 
lake of blood. He goes not on the same road with 
his brethren {i.£. the Centaurs who guard the boil- 
ing river of bJood), hy reason of the fraudulent 
theft he made of the great herd that he had in his 

" Qualuor a stabulia praestanli corpore taufos 
Avertit, totidcm forma supcranic juvencaa. 
Atque hos, ne qua forei^t pedibus vestigia reclis, 
Cauda tn spcluncam tractos, versisque viarum 
Indiciis raptos, saxo occuitabat opaca" 

I Ovid {fasti^ i, 547-558) al&o describes it: — 
■ " Mane crat : excussus snmnn Tlrynthius hospes 
I Dc numero tauros scTitJt abcs&e duos, 

I Nulla videt taciti quaercns vestigia furti : 

I Traxerat aversos Cacus in antra fcros \ 

' Cacus, Avcntinac limor atque infamia silvae, 

L Kon leve Bnilimis hospjtibus^qui; malum. 

Dira viro fades ;, vires pro corpora ; corpus 
Grande: pater monstri Mulciber hujuseral. 
L Proque domo lon^-is spelunca recesstbus ingens, 

I Abdita^ vix ipsis invenienda feris. 

F Ura super posies aFRxaque brachia pendent, 

I Squalidaquc humanis oBsibus albet humus." 

L *Sotio ia msiza d' Erwk : Ovid {U. 575-57S}Tt:lates the death 
tof Cacus :~ 
r "Occupat Alcidcs, adductaque clava trinodis 
Tcr quatcr adveraf stdit in ore viri. 
(He cadit- niisttosquc vomit cum sanguine fumos^ 
Va lato moricns pcctore plangil humum,'* 
f Glune itxi cetitn : I'nderstand mazzat^ ^ "club-strokes." 
^t<n^cnuto. the Ammxino hwrrnlinp^ Gellr, Lubin, Scariazzini 
TT-r' * nmi-rini agree that lht!> means that Cacus died before the 
« , p*issibly the first few blnws slunntd him, and (hat 
j_ : m his frenzy of rage went on striking him after he 

wax dead (Tantt glirnt liitdfy f>r(So com' €ra d' ira\ Di Siena re- 
marks : " Fcr manco di dicci mazjatc Caco era gii finitot 
Ercolc nondlincno nella srande ira fseguita a dargliene molte 


Readings on the tnfemo. Canto 1 

neighbourhood : for which his felon deeds came to 
an end nnder the cJuh-strokes of Hercules, who 
perchance dealt him a hundred of them, and he 
(Cacus) feh not ten (becoming unconscious after 
the first few b!ows)." 

Benvenuto remarks that Virgil, in the above lines 
of the text, had answered the followini? tacit question, 
which Dante would in all probability put to him : " If 
Cacus shed floods of gore, why is he not punished 
with the other Violent in the first round of the 
Seventh Circle ? " and Virgils reply is : ** No, he 
does not go with the other Centaurs there, because 
he has been guilty of the additional crime of fraud- 
ulent theft, contriving it so that the stolen cattle left 
deceptive footprints to make his pursuers think they 
had gone the other way." Benvenula after observ- 
ing thai Catiline was also violent and fraudulent in 
a similar way, for when he retreated from the Hill of 
Fiesole, he had his horses shod with their slioes 
turned the reverse way, conchides the passage thus : 
•' And lastly note this, that if Roderick, Archbishop 
of Toledo, has written the truth in his Chronick Dt 
gestis Hhpaniac^ this Cacus was a Spaniard whom 
Hercules drove from a high mountain in Spain ; bui 
in his flight his destiny led him into Italy, so that he 
could not after all evade the club of Hercules.** 

Divkion U. — Although it has taken some time to 
describe the arrival of Cacus and his general appear- 
ance, yet the Poets' vision of him could have been but 
momentary, for the Centaur, with his human nature 
incensed against Vanni Fucci, and his equine nature 
tormented by the serpents, would seem to have ^1- 

tnto XXV. Readings oh the Inferno. 


lOped up at great speed, and to have passed like the 

flash of a meteor in pursuit of Fucci, the sacrilegious 

iViief, and presumptuous blasphemer. He is gone 

before the indignant words {Ov' ^^ ov' e V accrbo ?) are 

well out of his mouth, Virgil is recounting to Dante 

ttje legends respecting him, when a new group comes 

upon the scene. It consists of three shades of the 

second class of Thieves, namely, those who are 

addicted to habitual theft, and yet are under the re- 

slmmt of a certain vestige of human sympathy which 

they still retain. 

In the confused scenes which now follow^ it is 

difficult to always distinguish the identity of the 

principal actors, Mr Butler begs us to obaer\^e that 

,1 there are three distinct forms of punishment by 

means of the serpents. Vanni Fucci is burnt up by 

be bite of a serpent, and comes into his own shape 

gain; Agnello blends with a serpent ; and in 1, 70 

** itq., we shall find man and serpent exchanging 


Mcntrc che t^l parlava^ ed ei trascors'?, 
E trc spiriti * vcnner Botto noi, 


P^£ ire tpiriti : E in this passage must be taken, not as con- 
juncliun, but as an inlerjeclion having the nf ctta **\o\ 
Bthuld ! *■ tilanc ( I'ltf. Dant. 6.v. <?) obsicrvts that sometimes, 
*l)cn united to &:c&, and at nlhcr times without eccth t' announces 
V) unforeseen circumstance at the instant of its occurrence 
• •»•« in tnf. XKV^ 50 : — 

" Ed un scrpentc con sev pi4 si lancia," 
Andftrrff, viii, 94,95 : — 

" Com' ei partava. e SordcDo a sC it trasse 

Diceodo : ' Vcdi IJ 11 nostrn avvcrsaro.' " 
(^porc ai»o Jn/. xix, j; f vol rapcui, and my note upon that 
N>Ugc»conUtning extract from Dr. Moore's Ttxtuui Criticistn, 


Readings un tl^ Infir^tv. Canto xxv. 

Dei quai ne io nfe il Duca lulo b' accorsc* 
Se non quando griddr : — " Chi sicte voi ? " — 
Per che nostra novella si nstette, 
Ed intcndemmo pure ad essi poi, t 
lo non ^li conoscca ; ma ei sepuctte,! 
Come sudI seguitar per alcun caso, 
Che 1' un nomare un allro convenette, 
Dicendo : — " Clanfa dove fia ^ rimaso ? " — 

Perch' io, acciocchfe i) Duca stcuse attcnto^ 
Mi posi i] <i)to su da] mento al naso. 


*s* uccori£ : Dante and Virgil had (heir attention so rivetted 
upon Caciis that they had not perceived the three shades 
creeping through the gloom {the Aiwttimv Fiomitino says like 
thieves in the nlght)^ and coming close underneath the spot on 
which the Poets were standing. 

t Ed inieHiUmmo pnre ad issi poi : Compare Inf. xxii, i6 : — 
*■■ Pure alia pcgola era |a mia inleaa.*' 

Xei segiU'ttii : Nannucci {AttiiHn Critica dti Verbi, p. 172, § ix) 
remarks : " From the Latin timuit we have seen . . . that by 
leaving out the u and changing i into t^ we obtained the third 
person singular ktn<^. But the old Italians preserved the final 
ty and the word became tenut, and then by protraction of pro- 
nunciation tanetU. So we %et fugf;fiU ior fugi ; u^cetU iorusci; 
fittffte for fifti ; oddtf (or udi, and st^udtt for w^'wi," Compare 
Purg. xxii, 82-^4 : — 

'" Vtnnermi poi parendo tanta santi, 

Che, quando Domizian H perseguettc, 
Senia mto lagrimar non fur lor pianti.^ 
The same remarks may be made about rUUHe in 1. 38, and am- 
venctii in I. 42. 

§ C'i«Ji/(J dove Jm?: Nannucci (n/>. at. p. 464, if xiv) says: 
•' Fitly JUt Jitmo, yicHo, for sard, iar^-^ saremo^ sarauno. 7'he rcaaOQ 
why the above words were ascribed to the verb csvcre is clear. 
Among the Latins_^o(from the Greek ^v«) was a t-erb substan- 
tive like Mtm. And Ihcrelorc wc Italians, from yM»j^j^i,^^Hi«, 
Jicitt,\iA\'ctakcnJia,Jic.,Jifmo,Jifno, . . . I answer the objections 
of Mastrofini by declaring that^^x 9indJiano (subBtitutcd for Jit 
and Jknit) arc not derived from the conjunctive form* fiaS and 
Jumt^ but from the future ^irf and^lrn^ and the only reason why 
people did not say fie and fifuo was because fia and jiiint} were 
more in unison with the generally adopted tensinations of the 
future* amifi^t anuratto ; Umcrtt. temeranc ; udira^ udirAnaJ^ 
Compare P^ar, xvii, 68» 69:— 

Xanto XXV. Readings on the Infertto. 


While he (Virgil) was thus speaking, and he 
(Cacus) had sped away> lo ! there came below us 
three spirits, of whom n<;ither 1 nor my Leader 
was aware, until they cried out : " Who are ye ? " 
Whereupon our story broke off, and we turned our 
attention solely to them. I did not know them : 
but it happened as will oftentimes happen by some 
chancCj that one of them had occasion to name 
another, saying : *' Where can Cianfa have 
stopped ? " Whereupon I, in order that my 
Leader might listen attentively, laid my finger 
upwards from the chin to the nose. 

Dante gave the common Italian sign for silence. 
Di Siena remarks that there now opens before us a 
scene of marvellous transformations, in which Dante, 
for novelty of invention, appropriateness and per- 
spicuity of diction, natural vividness of imagination, 
and for the utility of moral effect, has no reason to 
envy either Lucan or Ovid in the endless mctmnor- 
phases that flow from his rich and inexhaustible vein. 
For the better intelligence of the text, let the reader 
distinguish the five Florentines. 

Three of them appear in human form, and the other 
two as serpents. 

(1) Agnolo de' Brunelleschi is attacked by a six- 
foot^d serpent or dragon, which is in reality the shade 
of Cianfa, and the two get blended tORether, and 

love away as one form (11. 49-7S). 

(2) Buoso degU Abati is bitten in the navel by 

"S5 che a te fia bello 
Averli falla parte per tc stesao," 
ftl passage fiti hcUo means '*it will be ^no^ for thee,*' etc. 
\.Chi<ne Anonitne (cd. Selmi) says: "CianFa fu L-avalicre 
anali, c fu gran ladra di bc&tJame, e rornp>£i bottcg^he c 
votarc [ju] Ic cassctlt," 


Readins^ on the Inferno. Canto xxv. 

a small fiery serpent, which is Guercio de* Cavaicanti. 
The two transform their natures at once, Buoso 
changes into a serpentp and glides hissing away; I 
while the little serpent gradually changes into 
Guercio de' Cavatcanti, who exults that Bnoso 
should have taken his place, and should have to 
glide along on his belly in the dust {11. 79-141). 

(3) Puccio Sciancato de* Galigai is the only one of 
the five who undergoes no change (11. 145-151). 

(4) Cianfa de' Donati appears in the form of the 
six-footed serpent or dragon mentioned in (i), of 
whom Benvenuto says : staiini vidi'bis qwfd ipse facUt 
alium serpenkm. 

(5) Guercio de' Cavalcanti appears in the form of 
the little serpent mentioned in (2). (See L 151, where 
his identity is established). 

Dante is now about to relate the extraordinaT>' 
phenomenon of the blending into one hj'brid form of 
two bodies, of a man and a serpent, but before doing 
so he prefaces his remarks with a rhetorical artifice 
which calls forth the admiration both of Gelli and Di 

though he witnessed the occurrence, he can hardly 
believe it himself. 


1 calls forth the admiration both of Gelli and Di _ 

.. He tells his readers that he can hardly expect I 

to believe what he is about to tell them, for ~ 

Se tu sci or, L-eltor*,*, a crcder Icnio 

Ciii ch' to dirif non sari maraviglia, 
Che io chc il vidl appcnii il mi CDnscnto.* 

^t^pena il mi comcnlo: Compart: Convito iii» in the Canxooc 
Amor, che Hftta mmtc mi ragutnii (U. si'Sj) :-^ 

^* H puo^^ii dir chi^ il buo aspclto giova 
A consentir ci6 chc par maraviglia i 
Ondc la fcdc nostra i)^ jiiuiata." 

into XXV- Readings on the Inferno. 


If now. Reader, thou art slow to credit that which 
1 am going to telJ, it will be no marveU for I who 
saw It can scarcely admit it to mysetf. 

The three shades have no sooner arrived below 

where the Poets are standing, than a dragon rushes 

upon one of thern. In the Album of Botticelli's 

Illustrations {Zeickmmgen von BotliccUi zu Danies 

Komoedie^ Berlin, iSii/), the serpenU con sei piedi 

50) is represented to all intents and purposes in 

the conventional form of a dragon. These are 

probably the oldest illustrations of the Commedia 

evisting, and the faithfulness with which Botticelli 

has followed the text compares favourably with the 

Ifiietfiods of all modern illustrators. 
Com' to tcnea tevate in lor Ic ciglia, 
Ed urt scfpente con sei pie bl lancia, 
Dinanzi all' uno^ c tutto a tuj s' applj^lla. 
Coi pii di me22Q glL avvin&e la pancia, 
E con gt) anterior Ic braccia prese ; 
Poi kU addenlo e V una e I' altra guancia.* 
Gli diretani alle cosce distege, 
E miseU la coda tr^ ambedue, 
B dictro per le ren su La rltese. 
While I was keeping ray eyebrows raised towards 
them» behold a serpent with six feet darts in front 
of one (of them), and fastens upon him all over. 
With its mid-feet it clasped his belly, and with its 
fbre-fect it gripped his arms; then it fixed its 
&ngs in both his cheeks. The hinder feet it 
spread out over his thighs, and inserted its tail 
between the two (thighs), and stretched it upwards 
Wer the loina behind. 

' *f/j addtntu e i' urta t C aitra guancia : Tommaseo aaya that 
^e mouth of the dragon was so lar^e that it was able to take 
'^ both of Aj^nolo's checks at one bite. Botticelli's illustra- 
*'0n depicts this nctlon of the dragon exactly. 




Reading on the Inferno. Canto xxv. 

Dante, in three successive similes, first compares 
the tenacity of the dragon to that of ivy clinging to 
a tree; but Benvenuto points out that whereas the 
ivy or the vine can be torn from the tree piece-meal, 
there is no such possibility of getting rid of the 
dragon*s hold. Dante next goes on to describe the 
way the dragon and the man became incorporated 
together, by comparing them to two pieces of soft 
wax that can easily be moulded into one shape. 
Lastly, the change of form is compared to the 
gradual alteration in the colour of a piece of burning 
paper, which from white turns first brown and then 

Etlera* abbarbicatA mai non fue 

Ad arbor si, come V orribif ficra 

Per r altruj membra awiticchi&f Ic sue : 60 

Poi &' appiccir, come di calda cera 

Fosscro statir e mischiir lor colore ; 

* ElUra : Compare Horace, Epod. rv^ 5-10 :■— 

*' Arctius atqite bedera proccra astnn^itur iJex, 
Lentis adhaerens brachiis; 
Dum pecori lupus el nautis jnfe&lus Orion 

Turbaret hybernum mare, 
Intonsosque agjtaret Apollinis aura capillos, 
Fore hunc amorem mutQum." 
And Arioato, Orf. J-ur. vii, sL 39: — 

'* Non cosi strettamentc edera premc 

Fianta ovc intorno abbarbicato b' abbia. 
Gome si stringon li du' amanti insieme. 
And EuripidcSj Hecttbtii 398 : — 

" Snntn KitrtrOT Sftvoi omas rj^trft' f f o^i," 

i ai'viticchio : The Gran Dixionario says of avvitUtkiMn : 

" Propriamcntc diccsi di quelle piantc provvedute di «iticci 

[teniiriis, suckers'^, coi quali si attaccanoai corpi vicini. , . , Prr 

jcimiX Awinghiarc, Cingcre intorno alia guisa chc fanno i 

vitkci.*" Compare Tasso, Gcr, Lift. Canto xx, at. 99: — 

"Corne olmo a cqi la pampinosa pianta 

Cupida s' avvilicchi e si maritc." 


Sftnto XXV. Readings on the Inferno. 


Nft r un nh 1' altro giA parea que] ch' era : 
Come precede innanzi dall* ardofe 

Per Id papiro ^ susa un color bruno,f 65 

Che nan h ncro ancora^ e il bianco more. 

Never did ivy gel so rooted to a tree, as this hor- 
rible reptite entwined its own round the other's 
limbs. Then they stuck close together, as though 
they had been of heated wax, and mingled their 
hues; neither the one nor the other seemed now 

*papiro : There has been great difference of opinion among; 
the CQmmentator& as to whether by papiro one is to understand 
paper made from papyrus {charta. bombycina), or the pith of the 
papyrus as used in lamps in the tinic of Dante, and for the 
composition of which into wicks there were very stringent 
regulations laid down in the Florentine statutes. Buti, the 
Onimo^ Landino, Lombardi, Tommas^o and Scartazzini bold 
the latter view. But Blanc {Saggio) points out that Dante 
particularty speaks of the consuming of the paper as running; 
upwardiif whereas in a lamp it would burn downwards. Di 
Siena, Biagioli, Ceaan, Bianchi, and the VocAbutario ddla 
Crttsca, take papiro to mean paper; and 1 follow them, Gelli 
also unhesitatingly adopts^ the same interpretation: "£ per 
mo«trarci come si facessi queato mescolamento dc' loro colori^ 
dice ch' egii avvenne proptamente, came quando ei si arde il 
papiro. ciu^ la carta e il fogtio, chiamato gi^ anticamente 
P^piro, perch^ si faceva del midoUo di una specie di giunchi 
che si chiamano papiri, ma oggi curia o foglio, perchi non si 
(anno pii!l di dctti giunchi^ ma si fanno di pezzi di panno Eino 
venchio. Quando si abbrucia adutique uii pez^o di delta 
carta, va sempre cosS un pochetto inan/i al fuoco e a la Aamma 
chc la arde, un ccrto color bruno, che non £ ancor nero, e 
nientcdimanco la bianche^za naturale del foglio inuore e 
maaca ; nclla qual maniera ei dice che ando mutando^i il 

• Colore dt qucsCo scrpente in quel dcllo spirito/' 
i (0tor hTuno : The Gratt Dizionario (4} 1) gives the primary 
TDcaaing of hrMno aa " Di color nercggiantc ;" and ^ 2 '^Per 
ncfo semplicementc." The great Vocabolario J^ila Crusca, the 

ktamc. Trissino thus paraphrases the passage in the text : 
"Come un fohr ntr^fi^mnU cammina, prima che si accenda ed 
ilxi tfl liamma su per lo papiro, concio^siachd non h ancora 
kegro del tutto. ed il bianco va a poco a poco mancando." 
Sec my note on Inf, ii, 1, I* tur hrHno ^ " the darkening air." 
The proper word for " brown " in Tuscan Italian is marront^ 


V 2 


Readings oH the Inferno. Canto XS 

what it had been : just as in front of the flame 
there runs up over the paper a darkening tint, 
which is not yet black, and the white colour dies 

The other two shades have been silent spectators 

of the attack upon their comrade, but on perceiving 
the change coming over him, both break out into an 
(exclamation of pity* Two things in their demeanour 
do not seem quite intelligible. It is not usual in 
Dante^s Hell for the souls of the damned (o manifest 
any humane feelinj^s ; and in the next place, would 
they now be witnessing such a scene for the first 
time? If not> whence their astonishment ? It may 
be, that according to the routine of the Bulgia, they 
would know that their turn would very soon foMow, 
and in that case their emotion would be one of 
horror^ and fear for themselves. 

Gli altri due riguardavano, e ciascuno 

Gridavav— '*0 nie, AgnSl,* come ti muti I 
Vedi che gii non sc'i n^ due n& uno/'-^=-+ 


* Agtt^i : The author of the Chiosc Ani»Hime {ed. Srlmi) ?*)*» 
of him : "This Agnello was one of the Bruncllcschi family of 
Florence ; and from hi& earliest childhood he would empty hi« 
father's or his mother's purse, and after that the titl& tn the 
shops, and was wholly given up to thieving. Later on, when 
he grew up, he would get into other peoples houses; he would 
disguise himiielf as a poor man, and he would fashion himself 
an old man's beard. That is why Dante represents him trans- 
formed by the bite of that serpent, because he used thus to 
transform himself for the purpose of thieving/' He is also 
called Agnolello, but more often Agnolo. 

t tii tiue nf uno : ** N'ot two, because it was one &inglc body ; 
noronCf because it no longer had the form or the tndividuaUty 
of a serpent alone, or of a man alone/' (Di Siena ;. Dr. Moore 
{Siitditi in Dante., i, p. 215) says that this transformation scene 
has many points of resemblance with the passage in Ovid, 
Sid. iv. Compare non sei ni dut m unv in L 69 and ifw 4 mtttum 

^anto XXV. Readings on the Inferno. 


Q\k cran li due capi un divcnuti 70 

Quanda n' appan'cr due figure miste 
In una faccia,* ov' eran due perduti. 

Ftrsi le braccia due dj quattro Uste ; 

Le CDsce con le gambe, tl ventre e il casso 
Di^xnne^ membra chc non fur mai viste. 75 

Ogni primajo aspetto ivt era casso : 
Due e nessun t Y imagine perversa 
Parea, e tai sen gia con lento passo. 

The other two were looking on, and each of them 
cried: "Alas! Agnolo, how thou art changing I 
Behold! thou art already neither two nor one!" 
By this time the two heads had become one, when 
there appeared to u& two countenances mixed up 
in one face, wherein the two (individualities) were 
lost. The two arms formed themselves out of 
four streaks {i.e. out of the two arms of Agnolo 
and the two fore-legs of the dragon) ; the thighs 
with the \t^% the betly and the chest turned into 
such members as never were seen before. Each 
original aspect there was erased: the distorted 
image seemed two and (yet) none, and irt such 
(transforined) condition it went off with slow step. 

Scat1a2^zini, discussing the classification of the 
Thieves most generally adopted by the old Com- 
mentators, remarks that Roman Jurisprudence dis- 

tn I. 77, with Ovidf Mti. iv, II. 378, 379 (where the formation 
of ihc Hcnnaphrodite is described):^ 

** Ncc duo aunt et forma duplexi ncc femina dici 

Ncc pucr lit possint \ ncutrurhque et utrumque videntur." 
*Jue/^Hfx miiU tn una faccia: Compare Ovid^ Mctam. iv, 

**,,., Nam mtBta duorum 
Corpora junfjuntur, f&cieaque inducitur ilHs 

"fDtu * nfssun ; ''The image Bcemcd man and Bcrpcnt to< 
ether; and yet it did not Bccmi cither the one or the other." 
{Di SicnaJ. 


Readings on llt^ Inferno. Canto xxv. 

tinguishes theft into three species: h primarily 
establishes the difference between things human and 
things divine, and it next subdivides thing* terrfan 
into things public and things private {Summa return 
divisio in duos ariiculos dcducitttr ; nam aliae sunt dtvini 
juri^j alius hitmanL . . . Quacdam nainrati jure com- 
munia sunt ommum, qwudam universitatis, quaedam 
tiullius pUraque sin^ulorutn). Dante seems to have 
had in his mind this triple partition, Vanni Fucci 
was the thief who robbed holy things from the 
Sacristy. Cianfa and Agnolo probably filled public 
offices at Florence, and in these may have com- 
mitted defalcations, that is, were thieves of pubhc 
property. The other Florentines mentioned in this 
Canto seem to have been thieves of private property. 
Hence the diversity of their punishment. Vanni 
Fucci at the bite of the serpent takes fire* is reduced 
to ashes, and then gets his human form back again, 
only for the purpose of bein^ once more reduced to 
ashes. His penalty is a sort of eternal holocaust, 
but a holocaust without expiation. Cianfa and 
A^olo embrace one another, unite^ and become, 
as it were, one person. These would be the public 
functionaries who combine together to embe;2le 
public property. But their very union is just their 
torment, their hell. The others rob each other of 
all that remains to them, namely, their shape* These 
would be the robbers of private properly, who steal. 
wherever, whenever, and whatever they are able. 

Division III. — The second of the three shades is 
the next to suffer. This is Huoso deglt Abatij- 

Janto XXV. Readings on the Inferno. 


whom but little is known. He is attacked by & 
small serpent, which is afterwards found to be 
Guercio de' Cavatcanti. 

The serpent that darts upon Buoso is compared 
from the lightning-like rapidity of its movements, 
to the large-sized lizards, that flit about from hedge 
to hedge during the mid-day heats of the hottest 
period of the Italian summer. 

Come il ramarro,* sotto \a. gran fersa t 

*rmmarror There can be no doubt that the animal here re- 
ferred to is not the ordiiiar>' little UzAtd {lucerttilu\ with which 
otic is so familiar in the south of Europe, but a much larger 
and rarer species, which I have seen two or three timea at 
Mentone and Cannes. Lubin says : " It is exactly like the 
hzard in shape and colour, but three or four times as large as 
ihe iargeat-siied lizards." Gelli says: "It [the serpentj was 
coming with such velocity, that Dante likens it to a ratnarro^ 
a very welMcnown animal, Ukc the lizard, but much larger, 
much greener in colour, and far more beautiful, having its 
skin dotted over with certain spots that shine so that they 
ftccm like liltlc stars {stcUolific) ; far which reason the Latins 
call it sUtliu, It i& exceedingly swift in its movements^ and 
more especially so in seasons of heat, so that the hotter is the 
Bcason^ the stronger it [the animaljgets, and the more swiftly 
It runs/' Fanfani (IVdWcrruj) writes: '^'^ ramano e un lucer- 
tolone (j.e, a large si^ed li/ard)." Lana gives the following 
qua.in1 description : *'^Ramarro k una spezie di ferucoie velenose, 
e iono appellate magrassi ovvcro Hgiiri [nel dialelto Lom- 
bardo], Il quali al tempo del gran caldo appariscono nelle 
slradc, c 8ono molto paurosi animali, chc come vegiono 
I'uomo, c gcttanseli addosso, e qucllo chc in bocca & mai non 
ttfaMino^ o clU fuggano come folgorc, i:iah velocissimamente." 
The ChtQSt Sinckrone in the Codin Cassincse say: "Similts 
lacertac salve quod est viridissimus. Et dicitur ramarrus a 
runo tcpium, quia ascendit dc uno ramo in allio." I have seen 
in the Keplile House al the Zoological Gardens certain lizards, 
foctr or five times the size ofthe ordinary kind, with their backs 
coTCfed with eye-like spots. These were from the south of 
France and were called *' eyed-lizards." My impression ofthe 
few Urgc*5Ucd lizards that I have seen in a wild state, is that 
Ihey were of a miuch nnorc brilliant green than what i saw at 
the jir<3olo'gical Crardicns. I note that some Commentators 


Readings mi the Inferno, Canto XXV, 

De' di canicular cangiando siepe. So ' 

Folgore par, se ta via attraversa ; 
Cosl parea, venendo verso 1' epe J 

DegU altri due, un serpenteilo acceso, § 

Livido c ncro comt gran di pepc. 
E quElla parte^ donde prima £ preso 

Nostro alimento, alP un di lor IraBsse ; 

Poi cadde giuso innan^i lui distcso, 
Ld trafitto Jl mirA, ma nulla disse : 

Anzi coi pis fermali sbadigliava, fj 

would acem to refer to the Grand Lixani vert ocelli of Cuvier 
{Lacerta Octlitita, the eycd-lij;ard), while olhtrs unniistakably 
allude to the ■SUUion Comttn of Cuvier (sUU'w vutgarU, the 

Some friends of mine, residing at Florence, loJd me that 
during (he month of August, iSgr, they saw two lizards of 
large siae, answerinf; to the description given above, (hat had 
been caught in the C<tsc'm(, exhibited close by the Piaxfa delU 
Signoria, and they heard them called both ramarro and iucer- 
tolonef more frequently the latter. 

\ la gran f{T$& : Benvenuto's interpretation ia: "submagno 
calore sive magna calura-** Lana simply says: ^^/ersa cioft 
calura," Some read fcrz£L, others s/erza, a scourge. Brua 
Bianchi derivcs/crsfl kotn firvto^ and gives it the signification 
of "intense heat.'^ Scarlaziini, "* svtfo ia gran ftrstn sotto i 
coccTili raggi del sole in estate." 

J r f/>f ; This is the plural of epa^ and signifies "the bellies." 

The word only occurs in this one passage in the plural, and 

twice in the singular in Inf. xax, namely, 1. lox: — 

" Col pugno gli percosae 1' epa croia." 

And 1. iig: — 

" Risposc quel ch* avea cnfiata I* epa." 
Di Siena thinks that in all three passages it is used as a imn 
of contempt. 

^ acciso : Many Commentators, and among them Scnvrnuto 
and Scartozzini, take this to mean acceso d* ira^ in/urmla : but 
1 have preferred to follow Gelli (as I sec Prof. Norton docs), 
who interprets iKceso : " chc giltava fuoco." The context rn 
II. q2t 93, shows that the serpent was on fire, and that its 
fire passed into the other spirit, 

Wsbadi^liava : Scarta^^iini quotes Asson, tntomif U «o(m>- 
scfnse bioIe}giche e mtdiche di Dante, in the Atii dtlV Imp, 1?^. 
Ven^to di Sciett^fy torn, vi, ^er. iii, pp. 854^ ^5^, as showing tfatat. 




lanto xxVr Readings oft th Inferno. 


^Pu^ come sonno o febbre V assalisse. 90 

Egli il serpente, e quci lui riguardava ; 
b L' un per la piaga, c V ahro per la bocca 

~ Fumavan forte, e il fummo si scontrava. 

As the eycd-li^ard beneath the fiercest heat of the 
dog-days, when changing [i.e. flitting) from hedge 
to hedge looks tike a lightning'flash if it cross the 
road ; so did there appear, coming towards the 

! bellies of the other two, a little fiery serpent, livid 
and black as a pepper corn. And in one of them 
it transpierced that part (the navel) from which is 
first drawn our notinshment (before birth) ; then 
fell down stretched out before him. He that was 
pierced gazed at it. but said nothing ; on the con- 
trary standing motionless on his feet he yawned, 
just as though drowsiness or fever were attacking 
hiro. He stared at the serpent, and il at him ; the 
one (Buoso) emitted thick smoke from the wound, 
And the other (the serpent) from the mouth, and 
their smoke commingled. 

Before relating the transformation that takes place 
between the man {Buoso degli Abati) and the little 
serpent (Guercio de' Cavalcanti), Dante assures his 
rcstders that lie yields in nothing to the poets of an- 
tiquity in their descriptions of transformations^ since 
none of them have ever attempted to depict a com* 
plete inter- transformation between two beings. 

Taccia Lucano omal, 1& dove tocca 

De) misero Sabcllo * e di Kassidto t 95 

Ed attenda ad udir quel ch' or ai scocca. 

tb« bite of thr asp produce;) jii»t exactly the comatose symp- 
tom* that Dante depicts here, 

* Ssiftilo : Sabellus wa^ a Roman soldier serving in Cato's 
army in Africa. Lucan (I'kixrs. \x, 763-78^) relates of him 
that being bilttrn by a small but extremely venomous serpent 
called a "wps" while c^fls^ing the Libyan desert, his body so 
polrificd an to become a mass uf liquid corruption. 

f^asstdto: Nas&tdiuK wa$ a fL-llow-aoldier of babeljus. Lucan 


Readings mi th£ Inferno. Canto xxv. 

Taccia di Cadmn* c d' Aretusat Ovidio : 

Ch'^ be quello tn serpente, e quclla in fonte 
Convert? poctando, io non 1' invidio: 

Ch6 due nature mai a fronte a fronte i 

Non trasmuli!), si ch' ambcdue ]e forme 
A cambiar lor materia fosser pronte. 

Henceforth let Lucan be silent, there where he 
tells of the ill-fated Sabellus and Nassidms, and 
let him wait to hear that which will now be re- 
vealed [lit. let Hy). Let Ovid be silent about Cad* 

{l.c. 790-797) relates that he was bitten by a venomous serpent 
called a " prestcr," the effect of which was to make his body 
swell to such an enormaus siie, that hU corselet burst, and he 
died chanfjtd into a headless, formlesii heap. Set Toynbec's 
DaitU DUtiOtutry for both these names, as also for the two that 

* Cadmo : When flying from Thebes through Libya, Cadniua 
and his wffe Harmodia were changed into serpents. 
Ovid, Mdarn, iv, 570-588.) 

f Arttum : The Nymph Arethusa, one of the Nereids, 
at her own request changed by Diana ii^to a fountain Io esci 
the pursuit ol the river-god Alpheus, JList when he was on the 
point of seizing her. (See Ovid, Sittanu v, 572 rf it^.) Com- 
pare Shelley, ArdhinA, IL i^iS :— 
" Arcthusa arose 

From her couch of snows 
In the Acroceraunian mountaina, — 
From cloud and from crag^ 
With many a jag, 
Shepherding her bright fountaina. 
She leapt down the rocks, 
With her rainbow locks, 
Streaming among the streams ; — 
Her steps paved with green 
The downward ravine 
Which slopes to the western gleams : 
And gliding and springing 
She went* ever singing, 
In murmurs ae soft as sleep : 
The Earth seemed to love her. 
And Heaven smiled above her, 
Ak she lingered towards the deep.** 

^anto XXV, Readings on the Inferno, 


mus and Arethusa : for if in his poesy he converts 
him into a Berpent and her into a fountain, I 
grudge it not to htm : for never did he transmute 
two natures face (o face in such wise, that both 
persons were ready lo exchange their matter.* 

Ovid only related the change of a human being 
into something else. Dante relates a double change, 
namely, that of a man into a serpent, and that of 
a serpent into a man. 

Gelli remarks that all writers who had up to then 
written about transmutations, whether true or fabu- 
lous, had simply related the bare facts, but without 
demonstrating the process by which such changes 
were effectuated, The transformations recounted in 
Holy Writ, such as Lot's wife into a pillar of salt, or 
the rod of Moses into a serpent, are different, because 
the cause of these changes is very distinctly defined, 
in that they were effected by the V^irtue of God, to 
the which no other power is able to offer any resis- 
tance. But such writers as Pliny, Lucan, Ovid and 
Claudian, while perfectly able to describe the effect, 
namely, that a man should be changed into an animal, 
or a girl into a fountain, are however unable to under- 
hand how such change should be broufjht about by 
a gradual and natural process, and not in an instant 
of time. 

Benvenuto believes that Dante did not make this 
boast so much for the purpose of praising himself as 

•/urtonj . . . matter: }At. Tozet iErr^tiih Cinnmcntary lt> the 
''O. C.) renders /ofWif "persons," and mniefla "subsUnce," and 
'*<>»eTve* that tn the language of the Schoolmen forma is the 
•■■ential elcmcnl which distinguishes a species; hence it is 
**»rd of the essence or personality of living beings [Par. iv, 54), 
^hite materia Bigni&es the bodies in which they reside 


Readings on ihe Inferno. Canto XXV* 

to arrest the attention of the reader to the account of 
the marvellous and unheard of spectacle witnessed 
by himself and Virgil. 

Division IV.— Benvenuto observes that the lines 
that follow should be read with the closest attention, 
for the passage is intricate in the extreme. 

The first transmutation is that of the legs of the 

man and the tail of the serpent. 

Insiemc si riposern a. t&i norme, 

Che ]| serpentc la coda in forca fesBC^ 

E il feruto * ristrinse insicmc i* ormc. 105 

Lc pambe con le cosce seco stessc 

S' appicc&r si, che in poco la giuntura 
Non faCGa segnD alcun ehe si paresse. 

Togliea la. coda fessa la fi^ra 

Che si perdeva li, e U sua pelle 110 

Si facca molle, e quclla di \h dura. 

They corresponded one lo another under such con- 
ditions, that the serpent clave his tail into a fork 
(to become human legs), and the wounded one 
contracted his feet together (to form the serpent** 
tail). The legs and the verj' thighs with them so 
fastened themselves together, that in a brief space 
the juncture made 00 mark that was apparent. 
The divided tail was (gradually) assuming the 
form that the other was losing, and its (serpent} 
ekin was softening (into human skin)i and the 
other hardening, 

Dante next proceeds in regular sequence from the 
legs and tail* to describe the inler-transforraalion of 
the belly and the arms of the human form, into ihc 
trunk and the fore-feet of the serpent* the lotig human 

*JiruUt: Another form oi Jcritti, past pojrticiplt: nf /rrin. 
Csed elsewhere by Dante in /«/. xxi, 87 ; /n/. xjtiv, 150; etc- 

Canto XXV. Rfadiit^s on the Inferno, 


arms shortening into serpent's feet, and the short fore- 
feet of the serpent lengthening into human arms, 
Moreover the exhalation in which they are wreathed 
changes their respective colours. It gives the man 
the colour of a serpent, and the serpent that of a 

Ip vidi enlrar Ic braccia per V ascdlc, 

B i due pi£ dcHa iRera, cW eran cortt^ 
Tanio allun^ar quanto accorciavan quelle.* 

Poscia ]i pi^ di retro, tnsiemc attorti, 

Divcntaron In membro chc V uom cela, 
E i] mUero del sun n' avca cEuc p6rti. 

Mcntre che il rummo 1' uno c I' altro vela 
Di color nuovo, e genera il pet suso 
Per r una parU, c dsiir altra il dipcla, 

L' un fii leva, c V attro cadde giuso, 

Non tarcenUi* pero k lucerne t cmpic, 
Sotto Ic quai ciascun cambtava mutio.] 





* qmiU refers to the human armS) Compare Ovid, Mdam.y,, 


'*Conibibil oa maculas, et, qua modo brachia gessit. 
Crura gerit. Cauda est mutatis addita mcmbrts ; 
Inquc brcvem loniiain, ntr sit vis magna nocendi, 
Contrahitur, parvaquc minor niensura laceria est.'* 
Hmerme : All the o[d Commentators understand this to mean 
the cyc». Compare \tatt^ vi, 22 in the Vulgate: " Luccrna 
corporis tui est oculus tuu&" 

J WKwi' ; Some Iron^lalnrs here make use of the word 
ninx/lc," by way of giving a cnntemptuous interpr'^tation to 
wui. I do nol feci disposed to agree that Dante specially 
intended to convey any contempt in the expression. He is 
<jc«cribing two faces, the man's and! the serpent's, utterly un- 
Itke each olhcr. Benvenuto, both here and in I. t^o translates 
muio a.^ "os," and of cambiavA m«.jo, writes; "mutabat os. et 
bene dictt : quia mutalio oris Aebgt i&ub ocutis, cjuia bucca 
naturmhter in anJmali est infra oculos, nisi cssct monstrumi." 
Lameonai* translates " tc vi&agc " ; Tollock "the face"; and 
Caflylc (the version which 1 have adopted in L 1 jo) " sharpened 
viaa^c'* Gclii aUo takes it in this latter sense; *^ilmuiu innunii 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxv. 

I saw the arms drawn inward through the arm- 
pits, and the two feet of the reptile, which were 
shortj len^theninj;^ out to the same proportions aa-J 
these (the human arms) were shortening'. Then 
the hinder feet (of the serpent) twisting up together 
became the member that man conceals, and the 
wretched being from his had put forth two (ser- 
pent's hinder feet). While the smoke covers each 
of them with a new {i,e. gradually chan^mg) colour^ 
and generates the hair on the surface on the one 
side {i,c, of the serpent becoming man), and re- 
moves it from the other {Le. the man becoming. 
serpent), the former rose up, and the latter sank ■ 
to the ground, not however turning away (from 
one another) their cruel eyes {liL lamps), under 
whkh each was changing his visage. 

The two were glaring at each other with a fixity 
of hale which may be thought to be an evidence of 
the innate wickedness of their souls. The inter- 
change of the two faces is then depicted in language 
of v^hich the lucidity and precision it would be impos- 
sible to surpass. 

In the passage that follows (11. 124-155) the first 
six lines describe the transformation of the serpent 
into the man, and the last six lines that of the man 
into the serpent. 

Quel ch* era dritlo, \\ trassc v*r le tempi?, 
E di truppa materia chc in Ift vcnne, 
Uscir gli orccchi deUe gotc scempie:* 


eaccia (L 130), ciod lo tsptnge e fa «gu2<o» pcrch^ era primt] 
Bchtacciato, essendo \'iso ufnano," Sec also the v4*ro»*j»rt»Fionni-' 
tino : '* La faccia dell" uomo divenia itiusa di srrpcntc, c *l cnuao 
dct serpcntc divenia faccia d' uoiuo.^* 

* sctfnpie : Bargigj interprets goic icempi( ; "che prima noQ 
avevano orccchi alcunc/* Venturi; " Llsce o acemc, tnan-j 
canti." Tamnta^^Q and Scartaz^lni : "Scnza orctxhi.* 



^anto XXV. Readings on ike Ittfcrno* 319 

Cio che non corse in dietro e si ritenne, 
Di que] soperchio fc' naso alia fascia, 
E Ic labbra inj^rosso quanto convcnne. 

Quel che giacea, il muso innanzi caccia, 
E gli orecchi ritira per la testa, 
Come face* le corna la lumaccia : 

E la lingua^ che avea unita e presta 

Prima, a parlar. si fende^ c ta forcuta 
Neir altro si richiude, e il fummo resta. 

He that was (now) upright (;,f. the serpent turning 
iato man) contracted it (his visage) towards the 
temples, and out of the superfluity of material 
which came thither (to the temples), there issued 
the ears from the vacant cheeks: that which did 
oot run backward (to the temples) and which was 
retained (in ffont), of that excess formed a nose 
for the (human) face, and enlarged the lips as 
much as was needful, He that lay grovelling 
(i,^« Buoso) thrusts forward the (serpent's) pointed 
snout, and draws his ears back within the head, 
even as a snail does its horns: and hi& tongue, 
which before was entire and Bt for speech, is 
cleft, (whereas) in the other one the forked tongue 
closes up, and the vapour ceases. 

By the smoke or vapour ceasing, Benvenuto says 
we are to understand that the transformation has 
been completed ; the serpent having transfused its 
whole spirit into the man, and vsce-versd, so that the 
whole transformation would seem to have been made 
by the virtue of the smoke of either party— Dante 
probably saw in the whole thing one conclusion 
alone, namely, that a thief of this description will 
ever be liable to lose his nature and become a ser- 

♦/•crf for /a, from /««« o[d form oi fare. See Nannncci, 
Amaiisi Crittca del Vttbit p. 605 et seq. 


Reaciitff^s on Utc Inferno, Canto XXV* 

pent, and conseqiienlly is one of the worst species of 
all. For if Vanni Fucci was reduced to ashes, he 
was quickly bom again ; if Agnolo appeared incor- 
porated with a serpent, he did not all the same 
entirely lose his human nature, which he still re- 
tained simultaneously [with the serpent nature] in 
the same body, though confusedly and indistinctly^ 
But Buoso underwent his transformation far more 
unhappily than the others, for he was entirely 
stripped of his human nature. Buoso then from a 
man became a serpent, and Guercio from a serpent 
became a man, when he spontaneously laid aside 
his thievish purposes. For these particular thieves 
were not alwaj's in the mind for thieving, but only 
on certain occasions accordin|i^ to circumstances. 
When therefore they are in their thievish bent, they J 
assume the serpent form and lay aside the human ; ' 
and when they reassume the human, they lay aside 
th^ serpentine, becoming more reasonable, and so ■ 
they are at one lime serpents, and at another men." 1 

To show how complete the transformation had 
t)een, Dante describes the shade of Buoso gliding off I 
hissing as a serpent, and the re-instated form of 
Guercio following him with two of a man's attri- 
butes, namely, talking and spitting. 

L' anima ch' era ficra divcnula 

*Getli quotes Giambullari as saytng chat this transformAtton 
has not been pictured by Dante from mere chance^ but that il 
is a true story, poetically coloured by him ; because it is a 
fact that the persuasintis and the example of Messcr France&co 
Guercio de' Cavakanti were the cause that induced Mcsscr' 
Buoso to become a thief. 

' Canto XXV, Readings on the In/crno. 


Si sfuggl Bufolando* per la vallc^ 
E r aliro dielro a tui parlando i>puta.+ 
Poscia ^li voisc le novclle spalle, 

Edisse all' aUro; — *' lo vo' che Buoao J corra, 140 
Com' ho fatl' io, carpon, per questo calle." — 

The soul that had become a reptile fled along the 
valley hissing, and after him the other spitting as 
he talked. Then he (Gucrcio) turned his newly- 
formed shoulders upon him (Buoso), and said to 
the other {i.e. Puccio Sciancato, the third yhade); 
•*I will have Buoso run, as I have been doing, on 
his belly along the path/' 

Both Benvenuto and Gelli observe that Dante 
bnngs the Canlo to a conclusion in true rhetorical 
form by adding a peroration and an epilogue to the 

*nf0kindo: This means "hissing," or "whistling." Scar- 
(sfxini thinlt^t the word an appropriate one fnr thieves, who 
Uc in the habit of whis^tting to each other by way of signal. 

f PiXrianiio sputa ; Several translators render this " sputters; 
as he sptakSj' implying the process of imperfect speech before 
the habit ia formed. I do ntit think the word requires so much 
explanation. It has ever been the habit of the nations of 
Southern Europe to spit in every direc;tion, and the first use 
Buoso makes of his resuscitation as a Florentine citizen in hi& 
human form is to exercise this customary privilege t '^ Questi 
•ono attt propi dell' uoniD; ntuno altro animale paria e sputa 
■* Aon r uonf>o, come nium altro animale sufola se non lo 
•erpeitie/* (Buti). 

* Buosa : By some of the old Commentators he is calEed 
Buoso degli Abati, and by others^ the Huoso l>onat] who la 
mentioned m Inf. xxx, 44, in connection with the fraudulent 
wrill in which Giannt Schicchi acted as his accomplice. The 
anecdote la related by the Anoftinn) Fiurcntina : "Ora questo 
Mcsser Buoso Donati, et in ufficio et altrove, avendo fatto 
dell* alirui suo, non possendo ptii adoperarc, n forsc compiuto 
f officio, tntsse in suo luogo (non pcro che coil' animo non 
loaac scmprc bene disposto ; ma, come i dctto, non toccando 

S'ft a tuil mi&!>e in auo luogo Messer Francesco^ chiamato 
nercio, de^ Cavalcanti, dal quale, esscndo fatto scrpente, fu 
0, come nel tetito si dir^." 
II. X 


Readings on the Infemo. Canto xxv. 

subject he has treated (iVwHC aufor brevUer epihgat 
quas dicta sunt, d condudii maUriam istim fraudh 
furti). Gelli adds that as Dante had not mentioned 
by name either Puccio Galigai [Sciancata), or Fran- 
cesco Guercio Cavalcanti, he now does so, in order 
not to leave his readers in any doubt as to their 

Goal A'td' io la settima zavorra* 

Mutare e tra^^mutare; e qui mi scuei 
La novitkjt ae (ior| la pcnna afaborrv.^ 

*xavorTa : This properly signifies any kind of merchaf _^^ 
put into a ship to 6)1 up (he hold and of no particular vttmT 
It may mean cither sand, gravel, stones, lead, iron> or any 
material used as balla^^t. Btit ScarCazzini absen'e!^ : "^'ct it 
seems to me that the Poet is not alluding, as some think, to 
the substance of Ihe Bolgia itself, so much as to the people in 
it; (i) because the Bofgia does not change and fc-change^ 
(ttan muia c trmtiiittaX but the people in it do no; and (a) 
because the metaphor is taken from ships; and Ihercfure if 
siivorra signifies the worthless malcrial placed in the hold of 
a ship, it follows that Bolgia is put in comparison with navt, 
and the worthk-ss trew in the Buifiut to the rubbi&h placed in 
the hold of ft ship." 

fLa HovUA : Compare Dante's Sonnet xxvii (p. 17:1 in 
Oxford Duntf) :— 

" Dagli occhi dellft mia Donna si muovc 
tin lumc Ki gcntil chc do%x appare, 
Si vcdon cose, cK' uom non, puo ritrare 
Per loro altc/za e per loro esser ouovc." 
\fior tB here an adverb, and signifies "a little." *' Mimewhat.'* 
It IS ao used in /«/. xxxiv, 26 : — 

" Pensa oramai per te, a' hai fior d' ingcgno." 
And Purg. ili, 133-155; — 

'' Per lor maledizion s\ non iii perdc 

Che non possa tornar 1* etcrno amorc, 
Mcntre chc la speranza ha fior del verdr," 
J{ ahhorra 1 Blanc ( l\t{. Danf.') Bays of ahhorrarf that it ta a 
word of uncertain signification. Compare In/, xxxi, 14: — 

•* Awicn chc poi nel 'maginarc aborri," 
in which passage there can be no doubt thai ahfMfrrarg ia to be 


jant^xv. Readings on the Inferno. 



Ed avvegnach^ glj occhi miei confusi 145 

Fossero alquanto, e 1' ammo amagato,^ 
Non pot&r quel fuggirsi Unto chiu^I, 

Ch* io non acorgessi ben Puccio Sciancato: 
Ed era quei che sol, de' trc compagni 
Che venfier (irLma, non era mutato ; 150 

L' flltro era quel che tu, Gaviile, piagni. 

Thus saw I the worthless rubbish of the Seventh 
Circle (lit. seventh ballast) change and re-changc ; 
and here let the novelty {of the thing) be my 
excuse, if my j>en goes a little astray. And 
although my eyes were somewhat confused, and 
my soul bewildered, they (Buoso and Guercio] 
were not able to escape so secretly, but that 1 well 
discerned Puccio Sciancato : and he it was who 
alone, of the three companions that canie first, 
was not changed : the other was he (Francesco 
Guercio Cavalcanli) for whom thoo, Gaville, 

GelH explains the nick-name Sciancato by which 
Puccio de* G^ligai was known: "thai means . . , 

taken with the signification of the Latin ahit-rarc, " to deceive 
oneself, 10 stray away from the truth." Gherardini (Voci e 
wmniert di dire, 1, 1 16) thinks aborvart^ with one l\ is the correct 
ftpclJing of Lhc word. Scarta^icini and some otKer!^ would 
derive qAftorrar; from /mrra. "stutfinp" with the signification 
•* to add superfluity of words." but Blant wholly disagri-'cs with 
such an interpretation. Lord Vernon, who wa» nearly always 
^idvd by N*ftnucci in matters of philnlo^, takes ahiwratt for 
i^€ ti^ protuttiere (qt preuittur£ I impnttta for imfirunia, cW, 
^tM^aUi'M in Provencal esmagat: from ismagart to disturb^ 
lroubte> alarm, surprise; in O, French, fsttiaUr ; Portuguese, 
rtmaiar, Tommas^o states that iRM^'art* is still in use in Tus- 
cany with the Bcn&c of disp4rdere, to disper&Ct but that signiA- 
catton would not vcr)- well agree with the use of the word by 
old writer*- In Spain dnmayaJo mtana *• hewjlderedj con- 
fuscdi to»1." Compare Vita Nuava^ ^ xxiii, in the Canzone 
bil^lkniag Donna pieima t di novtSh etude^ st. j : — 
'* Ed eran til smagati 
GU spirtf miei/' 




Readings rm the Inferno. Canto XXV. 

'the dislocated,' and in our [the Florentine] tongue 
is used to describe those who halt from the hips, 
and not from the lefrs." After speaking of Gaville 
as " a town in our country-side/' GelH concludes the 
chapter* and alas! at this point his consecutive com- 
mentary breaks off. There remains only a short 
fragment on the next Canto ; the exposition of one 
passage in the Pur^atorio ; and of one in the Para- 
diso. His lectures and those of Boccaccio are the 
most thoroughly Tuscan of all the Commentaries of 
the Divina Comnttdia, and the words '* chiamandosi 
COS! nella nostra lingua** etc., recurring continually 
throughout the lectures, remind one of the vast 
difference that their fellow-countrymen even to this 
day attach to the interpretation of Dante by Tuscans, 
as opposed to that of other Itahans^ who are seldom 
acquainted with the graceful vezzi e fiori d% lingua 
which so charm the ear in Tuscany, 

Di Siena remarks that the Canto winds up with 
a very natural rhetorical turn, Guercio was put to 
death at Gaville, a town in the upper Val d' Arno; 
his family revenged his death by killing a good many 
of the inhabitants; and hence it came about that 
Gaville had to weep after paying the penalty for the 
death of the robber with the lives of the population. 


ito XXV!. Readin^i ott the Inferno, 




In this Canto, as well as in the one that follows, the 
Poels witness the punishment of Fraudulent Coun- 

Bcnvenuto divides it into four parts, 

In DivUim^ 1, from ver, i to ver. 12, Dante upbraids 
Florence for being the mother of so many thieves. 

in Division 11, from ver, 13 to ver. 42, he relates 
how he and Virpl quitted the Seventh Bol^ia, and 
bow, on their reaching ihe brink of the Eighth, they 
saw the extraordinary' spectacle of the penalty of the 
Fraudulent Counsellors. 

In Divisian III, from ver. 43 to ver. 84, Virgil 
points out to Dante the shades of Ulysses and Dio- 
mede, and asks the former of them ivhat were the 
circumstances of his death. 

In Division IV, from ver. 85 to ver, 142, Ulysses 
gives a long narration of his last voyage, shipwreck 
and death, 

DiiriiioH I.— Benvenuto remarks that in this Canto 
Dante displays consummate art, and yet has not 
veiled it in the same obscurity as in the last 

Readings wj the Inferno, Canto ? 

Canto ; for he commences the present one with three" 
figures of specchj namely, apostrophe, invective and 
irony. Gdii (in the last fragments that he wrote on 
the Inferno, and which seem to have been broken ofi 
short by the infirmity that preceded his death) ot 
serves that Dante was verj' wrath on finding in Hell, 
among the Thieves, five noble knights of Florence, 
and thereupon apostrophized his native city with_ 
biting sarcasm, crying shame upon her; and m 
only did he do so in this passage of hts poem, bi 
we may also read in his Ittter tt> Can Grande dell 
Scala, that he styles himself Li«k^« Alu^hcriu&, Fl^fr- 
eniinus patria scd non mortbus. Gelli adds that the evi^H 
lives and habits of the citizens of Florence art fuH^^I 
attested by Lionardo d' Arezzo, as well as by Giovanni 
V'illani in the eighth book of his Cronica, and that 
from their lawlessness, their feuds and their evil deeds, 
Florence would rather deserve to be styled a congre- 
gation of malefactors than a congregation of citi^na 

Gocli, Fioren^a,^ poi chf eei ^ grundc 




* Gotii^ Fiofetsza, et seq. : Fra Guitt«ne d' Arc/zo, betii 
known as an Italian poet— of whose prose Iclters Njinnu< 
{Manvttk) remarks: "Jarmittio testo di lingua^ t iono tl 
antico esi-mpio cHe v' abbia Ji Utteu scritU nel itngti 
UaiittHti'" — in Letter jiiv, apostrophizes Florentc in a simtliir 
manner : " Infaluali iniseri Fiarcntini , ^ . vcdclc voi &e vontni 
Ic-rra i citt^, e ae vni Littudini uomtni sictc. H dovctc savcrc 
chc non citti fan g\k palagi n^ ru^hc [i.e. strade] bi^lle^ ni unnio 
persona hi^lla nfr drappi ricchi [fanno], nia legge njfttutalc, 
ordinala j^iuslizia c pace e gaudio intendo chc fa la CiliilL; c 
uomora^iont; e sapieniia e costumi onesii c reiti bene. O: 
chc non piCl aembraasc voatra terra deserto, che cittik semb 
c vQi dragr>ni c orsi che cittadini I Ccrto siccomc voi n 
rimasn i che memhra e fazione d* uomo, chi tutto I' bUi 
6 bcitinle e ration fallita, non ^ a vostra terra chc figun 
ctiik e case; |k;iustizia violata c pace, Chi, i;;Qnie da uomo 

Canto XXV r. Readings on the In/ertM, 


Che per mare c per IciTa batli 1' alij* 
E per r inferno il tuo nome si spande. 
Tra ]i ladron + trovai cioqut cotali J 

Tyol citudtni, cinde mi vien ver^ogna, 
£ tu in grandti onranjfa non ne sail. 

be«tia non h ^k che ragione e sapienzia, non da cittd a bo^co 
[h altfa dilTcrcnza] chir giustiitia e pace. Cnme citT^ si puo dire, 
ovc Iftdroni fanno Icgpc. e piu pubbrichi [i.f. usurers as. disttn- 
gutshid from hontst trudirs] islatino, che mercatanti ? ove 
n^oreg^iano micidiati, e non pena, ma merto ricevono de 
'mividj ? ove sono uomini divorati e dsnudati e mortl in 
diaerto?" (SfattuaU, Vol. ii,, pp. ijH, ijg). Guittone was 
usually spoken of as Fra Guittone, notj Nannucci observes, 
because he was a real friar, but because he belonged to the 
memi-rcliKious Ordtr of (ht Frati Gaudtnti. He died at 
Florence in 1394. Petrarch had great admiration for his 
gcniuSi, and besides imitating him in several passages, in his 
Tri<m/if if* Atfurrr, iv, st. 11, he couples him with Dante:— 
" Ecco Dante e Beatrice \ ecco Selvaggia ; 

EccD Cin da Pistoja ; Guitton d' Arczzo, 
Cbc d( non csser pnmo par ch' ira aggia.** 
bait* C ah: " Eraoo allora i Fiorentint sparti mollo fuor di 
ioren^a per diverse parti del mondn, et erano in mare et in 

a, di che fnfse i Fiorcntini sj gloriavano." (ButI). 
♦ Tra ti iajrvti ,' Compare Jer. xlviii, 27 : " For was not Israel 
a derision untd tKee ? was he found among thieves ? for since 
thou apakest of him, thou skippcdst for joy." 

I cotati t Di Siena observcn^ that although this word often has 
the nimplc meaning of ttih " such," it tnore frequently has the 
ajcnification ol something great or distinguished, and he agrees 
wtth the comment of Venturi, that Danle intended to say thai 
thece five thieves were " non mica plebei, ma primari barbassori 
f^ruiMafi^i rt/ (A/ firxt imt^i^rtaHce^ della Rcpublica." Compare 
Petnirrb. Part iv, Son. xh (in some editions Sort. 83) : — 
" Crcdctc voi che Cesare o Marccllo 

O Paolo ud African fossin cotali 
Per incude giammai ne per marlcllo P ** 
[Here coiati stands for uomim di Jama immortaU.I 
c witty Alcssandro Tassonij the author of La Secchia Rapita, 
rote the folluu'ing humorous note on the above passage of 
'ctrarch : '* Non erano toitili questi valentuomini : ma queall 
i ti tMaUgx^atio bene.'' 


RfoJin^s ott thf tn/firno. Canto 

Exult, Florence, since thou art so great, that thou 
spreadest thy win^s over st^a and land^ and that 
(even) through Hell thy name extends. Among 
the Thieves 1 found five of Ihy citizens of such 
distinction {i,e\ of itlustrioti^ birth), whereat shame 
came upon me (a Florentine), and thou dost not 
rise to great honour therefrom, 

Benvenuto thinks that Dante's shame arose from 
the general reason that the five were his counliy- 
men, and from the special reason that they were 
noble, as was Dante himself,* and this made them 
even more deserving of censure, for, as Juvenal says, 
the more exalted is a man's position, the greater his 
responsibility for wrong-doing.f 

Bartoli {Storia delta Lctteratura Italiana, voL vi, 
part ii, p. 90) remarks that in the above terrible 
verses Dante's hatred for Florence seems to have 
reached its culminating point. The prophecy of the 
evils that Prato and others (whether persons or cities) 
wish to befall her* and the wrathful and melancholy 
words that follow, clearly demonstrate the feeling of 
the Poet towards his native city. 

Dante goes on to state his sure conviction that 
speedy retribution will come upon Florence, but the 
lines in question have given rise to great diversity 
of opinion among the Commentators, I follow the 
opinion of But!, Blanc, Lamennais, Scartaz^ini and 
many others, that Dante, wishing to predict, as 
events that would come to pass after 1300, what 

* Nole fienvenuto's attestation of Dante'b noble birth, wluch 
bome sceptics arc disposed to deny, eg. ScartafzinL 
+ Compare Juvenal, SM. viii, 140, 141 : — 

"Omnc animi vicium tanto conspcctius in se 
Crimen habet, quanto major, qui^ peccat, habetur." 

Canto XXVI. Readings oH the In/emo. 


were really already past occurrences when he wrote 

the Inferno, pictures himself as having dreamt them 

I at that period of the night towards dawn, when 

dreams, according to popular behef» were supposed 

»to come true. 
Ma se preaso al mattin del ver si sogna,* 
Tu aentirai di qua da picciol tempo 
Di quel che Prato.t non ch' aJtri, t' agogna. { 
*uf>resso ai mattin del vet si sogna ; Among the ancients 
^cat efficacy was attributed to dreams oi the early morning^ 
as may be teen in Ovid, fljrroiJis^ xix, 193, 19G : — 

" Namque sub Aurora, jam dormitante Lucema, 
Somnia quo cerni lemporaf vera sclent" 
Dr. Moore (Studia in Dante, it, 365, 256) says that *' the hour 
before sunrise is marked in each of the three days in Purga* 
lory by a dream tn which some truth is revealed or embodied. 
On the first day, Dante has the vision of the eagle carrying 
him off in the air like Ganymede, which corresponded with his 
Actual transportation in his sleep by Santa Lucia to the Gale 
of Purgatory (see ix, 13 £t set].}. On the second day before sun- 
rise occurs that dream Ln which the false allurements and true 
vilcncss of the Siren's temptations arc exposed, which 1 have 
already referred to (xix, r-34); on the third day before dawn 
there is the beautiful vision of Leah, the accepted syrnbol of 
the Active Life (as contrasted with the Contemplative Life 
aa«igncd to Rachelj^ gathering tlowcrs in a flowery plain 
^lAiufd), a foretaste of the Earthly Paradise on which he was 
immediately to enter (xxvii, c^4'io9). This was the hour when, 
according to the beiief of the ancient poets, dreams were true." 
Di Siena remarks that Dante could not in belter language 
»|>eak to the understanding of the multitudes who were atill 
under the influence ol that ancient prejudice, 

t Di ij^ael (hi Praiu . . . T agu^ua: Dante,^ in predicting the 
calainitiei that will befall Florence, a vaticintum post cvciilunif 
imagines that her nearest neighbour, Prato, w»ll rejoice at h^r 
well^de^crved humiliation, not to mention many other cities in 
the country round, which had all suffered more or less from 
ber arrogance and oppression. Others suppose that by Prato 
ia meant the Cardinal da Prato, of whom more anon. 

I ^ *&^^** ■ t^r- Moore believes that ugogna is a translitera- 
tion of the Greek ciiyuviu», "to desire anxiously." See Donkin's 
BtymoiogUai Dutionary. Compare Purg. aiit, 66: — 
" Ma per la vista che non meno agogna." 



Readings oh the Inferno. Canto X 

E se gii fosse, non saria p<T tempn.* 
CoB] foaa' ci. da the pure csstrdcc;t 
Che piu mi graver&« com' piu m" attempo. 
But if when near the dawn one dreams the truth, 
in a short time from now thou shalt feel what 
Prato — not to speak of others — is craving for 
thee. And had it already taken place, it would 
not have been too soon. Would ihat it had, since ; 
it certainly must be ; for the more will it grieve 
me, the more I get advanced in years (to see 
retribution fall upon Ihee). 

There seems to be a general consensus of opinion 
— I am quoting principally from Bcnvenuto — that 

*/fr tempo : This is the equivalent of the Latin prittta mane^ 
and of the Greek ir^ui. Compare Petrarch, Canzom xvii (J9)i 
St. 2 :— 

" Ch'c: dubbioao e il tardar, come lu sai ; 
E 'L cominciar non fia per tempo omai." 
Boccaceio (nirutrti. Giorn. v^ Nirv. 3) uses the expression in 
the superlative; ** Pictro una matiina per tempisidtrnD leva 
tosi," where, according to the I'oc. Jfild Cruifa, ptr (trnpiaimo, 
sig'niBe?. a humtissima i>ra, Latin, summo mane. Compare also 
inf. XV, sS :™ 

" E s' io non fossi ai per Icmpo morto»" elc 
+ Cosi /r>ijs' ^fi, da che pure eaer du : Compare Shake&pcare, 
Moibeth, Act i* sc, 7:-- 

'* If it were done when 'lis done, ihen 'twere well 
Jt were done quickly," 
Also /f»/fM 3ci)i, 37 : — 

" Thai thou doest, do quickly." 

And Petrarch, Part 1, Canxotu xvi, st, 7: — 

" Aspelt* io pur che scocchi 

L' ultimo colpr> che mi dicdc il primn : 

E fia, s' io dritto estima, 

Un madn di pictatv occidcr loato 

Non csscnd^ ci disposto 

A far altro di me che quel che HOglia ; 

Ch^ ben mor chi morendo escc di doglia." 

And Seneca, jL>i!' Benef. ii, cap. 5 : " Miaericordiae est cito occi- 

dere." Sec also Sir Walter Scott, Black Dwarfs ch. xii aJfinrm : 

" No ! but trouble for trouble, I had rather it came irt-roorrow, 

as your country folks say, better soon than sj'ne — it will never 

find mc younger." 

Canto XXvl. Readings on ike Infcma, 


about the time of Dante being exiled from Florence, 
a number of terribie calamities befell the city. In 
130J [? 1304] Pope Benedict XI, wino had so recently 
succeeded "that magnificent Pope Boniface VIII," 
wishing to pacify the discords of the Florentines, 
sent as his Legate to Florence Cardinal Niccolo da 
Prato, a shrewd and intelligent man. The Cardinal, 
finding his endeavours to effect a modus vivcndi be- 
tween the rival factions of the Bianchi and Ncri 
perfectly fruitless, said: Ex quo non vutth bcnc- 
dicUomtn, remantie cnm matidiciione, and pronounced 
an interdict upon the city. About that time the 
ward of San Frediano determined to offer to the 
Cardinal a fete, in which should be given a repre- 
sentation of Hell and the torments of the damned. 
They proclaimed publicly that all who wished to 
know wondrous things about another world were 
invited to assemble upon the Ponte alia Carraja upon 
the first of May. Stages were prepared upon boats 
on the river» and by artificial fires of different colours 
a picture of Hell was supposed to be displayed ; men 
disguised as demons were represented casting sinners 
into the flames, and infitcting upon them other tor- 
ments. The bridge was thronged with a vast con- 
course of spectators. Screams and yells of simulated 
agony made a din horrible to hear. Just when the 
excitement was at its highest, the bridge, which was 
built of wood, from the unusual and excessive load 
up^m it, suddenly gave way, and fell into the Arno 
with all the people that were on it. The destruction 
of life was enormous; and " many who were looking 
down upon a simulated Hell went to a real Hell, and 


Reaiiin^&'Otf^th€ Infemo. Canto xx^ 

were brought within the terms of the proclamation 
which had been made, for they soon did know won- 
drous things of another world (f/ aciverunt nova dc alio 
mttndoi et juxta proclamationem hanni facti sw»0» and 
all the acted cries of suffering were converted into 
cries of stern reality." Soon after this a great 
disaster befell the city itself: for while the Bianchi 
and the Ncri were fighting against each other, and 
the Bxiinchiy for the time, had the upper hand — Corso 
Donati not bein;^ jusl then at the head of the N^ri^ 
partly because aFfiicted with gout, and partly because 
htr was in disagreement with the other chiefs of the 
Neri — a terrible fire broke out in the city. The author 
of it was a priest, one Neri Abati, the Prior of San 
Piero Scheraggio, a man both dissolute and wicked. 
He set fire to the houses of his own party {consortium 
suorum) near Or' San Michele, and so furious was 
the condaj^ration, that fanned by a south wind it 
consumed nearly 2,200 houses of the roost dis- 
tinguished families in Florence. The loss of property 
was incalculable, for the valuables which were not 
burnt were carried off by robbers. Many prosperous 
and opulent families were reduced to penury, the 
principal sufl'erers by the calamity being the Caval- 
canti and the Gherardini. From all these circum- 
stances Benvenuto thinks one may well say that 
great evils speedily came upon Florence in accord* 
ance with what he of Frato had wished to happen to 
it. He says that Dante acts with prudence in not 
stating the time too definitely, and in only speaking 
conditionally as to the accuracy of his presentiments 
or dreams. The Ottimo^ Lombardi, Blanc and others 


Canto xxvL Readings on the Infertto, 



think Dante probably reckons his own exile among 
the above-mentioned calamities, and therefore says 
(II. II, 12) that as it has ^ot to come, he trusts it 
will rather befall him while he is comparatively 
youn^. when a man can endure adversity better than 
he can in later years. 

Division IL — There is some difficulty in determin- 
ing the exact position of the Poets at this time. In 
Canto xxiv, 61-63, we read that as they ascended the 
arch of the bridge thai stood over the Holgia of the 
Thieves, they found it ronchwso, ^{r£tt& t; malagcvole^ 
ed erto ptd assai che quel di pria. We saw further on, 
that Dante's eyes being unable to penetrate the 
gloom, and to see the pei'sons whom he could hear 

the Bolf^ia below, he entreated Virgil (1, 72, et 
to contrive to reach that other rampart, and to 

'them descend the wall-like inchne of that excep- 
tionally steep bridge. We decided that we should 
take this inclint; to be that of the bridj^e, and that 
the point they reached was that where the bridge- 
head joins the rampart that surrounds the Eighth 
BMgiai and thai as this was at a considerably lower 
level than the rampart they quitted when they crossed 
the bridge, they would not have found it necessary 
to descend into the Seventh Bol^ia among the 
serpents. Moreover Dante (L 80) says that when 
they got there, ^01 mi /w la Bolgia matti/^sta, and in 
Canto XXV, 35, he speaks of three spirits being 
rectly underneath where he and Virgil were stand- 
Therefore we may now consider that theappal- 
scene, of the spirits in serpent form devouring 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xi 

others in human form, has been witnessed by the 
poets standinj^ at the point where the steep descent 
of the bridge has run down to the lower rampart, 
and be it remembered that each time they cro&s a 
bridge, they emerge from it upon a much lower level, 
since the Bol^c inchne more and more towards the 
Vozzo or Central Pit. The difficulty I now find in 
the passage we are about to discuss is to determine 
what are the scaki {1. 13) and the borni (I. 14) by 
which they had descended before, and by which they 
now remount. Blanc {Sa^f^io) thinks that the Poets 
here find themselves in the same place on the ram- 
part, and to go forward they must reascend the 
bridge, The only explanation that seems satisfactory 
to me is, either that they pursued their way by com- 
mencing the ascent of the wxt bridge by the imU^ 
chc ti' avfatt fatU i borni a scender firict, or that the 
continuous line of bridges ran across the line of 
Boigc and over the intervening banks, as a viaduct 
does, at a higher level, and that at no place did the 
lowest spot of the bridge correspond with the line of 
the rampart- Were this so, the Poets would in the 
first instance have climbed down the rocky aide of 
the causeway to the level of the rampart, and now. 
to resume their progress, must climb back again on 
to the so-called road on the bridgcway. 

Noi ci pariimmo, e su per le scalec, 

Chc n' avean fatte t borni* a scender pria^ 
RimontA il mio Maestro, e trasee race. 15 



* homi : Blanc {Voe. Dant.^ observes that come ancient Com* 
mentatorR miBundfrstood this passage, and rendered horni as 
*' blind> or squint-eyed per&Dn>^" from the adjective Aoniao 

Canlo XXVI. Rfodings on the Inferno. 


E prose^uendn la solinga via 

Tra le schcggc e tra' rocchi dello scoglio, 
La pj^ Bcn^a la man non at spcdia.* 
We departed hence, and, up by ihe stairs which 
the projecting^ rocks had afforded us as iDeans of 
<Icscent betore, did my Leader mount up again, 
and drew me (up also). And pursuing our lonely 
way among the fragments and stones of the rocky 
bridge, the foot sped not without {aid from) the 

We tnay infer that Dante now pets his first clear 
view of the Eighth Bolgia, and he seems to know 
that in it are punished the Fraudulent Counsellors. 
He ruminates upon their fate, and the melancholy 
reflection crosses his mind, how these shades of 
great men were in their life-time endowed with large 
mental povvers, with prudence, character and courage. 
Those gifts they turned to bad uses, employing them, 
as they thought, to the detriment of others^ though 
in reality to their own perdition. Dante, conscious 
of possessing in a high degree the same noble facul- 
ties, and of the danger he would incur should he 
misuse them, looks down upon the torments of the 
valley below as an admonition from Heaven to put 
a curb upon his intellect. 

fFrtnch horgH*)^ but that the rif;hl meaning here is the prAject- 
ing ktone* by whith th^ Poels had been previously enabled to 
•ttCtndfrt^m Ih** bridleway alxovc Iheni. Donkin [up. tit.) gives 
*»»i as "a boundary nlonc," Old Prench bodnc \ Modern 
Prcnch bvme. Borni (Dici, p. 258) are spur-stones projecting 
■rom the angle of a house juKt above the ground, to ward off 
t^f blown of wheels. 

*Lv pii sfHxa ia man mm si spedia : Compare Pnrg, iv, 31-^ 
jj •"■- 

*• Noi nslavsm per cotro il sassn rotto, 

E d' o^ni lato ne ^tringea |o Ktremo, 
E picdi e man voleva il suol di sOttCL" 


Readings on ike In/errw. Canto xxvt. 

AUor mi doisi, cd ora mi ridogiio, 

Quand^ ia drizao ]a mente a ci6 ch' lo vidi ; ^o 
E piCl la ingegno* affreno ch" io non ftoglio, 

PerchS non corrache virtil nol gujdi ; 
Si cht se Stella buona, o miglior cosa 
M^ ha dato il ben, ch' io t stesso nol rn' invidi.1 


*ittgt^no: Blanc (5rt£'frol remarks that this is not the only 
occasion in which Dante expresses a somewhat csaltcd opinion 
of his own genius. Compare /n/, Xj 58-60;— 
" , . - Se per queslo cicco 

Carccrc vai per alte^ifa d' ingcgna^ 
Mifl figlio ov' fi, perchc non 6 tcco ? " 
f St chi se sUllii buona , . . M^ ha ditto U ben, ch* io, etc. : 
Siena observes that the repetition of the ch^ in thc&e two linct 
IS a pleonasm ver>' common among otd Italian writers, and has 
the effect of preventing the reader from losing the thread of 
the sentencCt the connection of which would otherwise seem 
to have been disturbed by the interposition of an accessory 
phrase between the two clauses that link it together. Lapo 
Gianni, a contcmporarj' poetf and friend of both Dante and of 
Guido Cavalcanti, in the Canx&ae beginning ^mfirr, io ptvgo Im 
tua nobiUaU^ has the following passage : — 

" E non m' avviso che alcuno amadore, 
Sia quanto vuol di gentile intcllctto, 
Che abbia rinchiuso dentro dcE suo petto, 
Tant' allegrexza ch' appo me non muoia." 
Here at the beginning of the third line is repeated the ekd 
has already occurred in the first line. See also Conviio I. i« 
n. 155-138: "Li quail priego tutli, che se il Convito non fosse 
tanio spiendido quanto conviene alia sua grida, che non al 
mJD volere, ma alia mia facultate imputino ogni difctto." On 
these two passages^ Nannucci commenting on the first, and 
Fraticelli on the Becond. confirm, nearly word for word, the re- 
marks of Di Siena upon the use of pleonasms and their pur- 
pose. Nannucci, moreover, citea the passage we are di.scu»in|^ 
as illustrating that from Lapo GiannL Compare InJ. xv^ j^ 


" Ed egli a me : ' Se tu segui tua stcUa, 
Non puoi fattire al glorioso porto, 
Se ben m* accorKJ nella \*ita bcHa/ " 
See aJBO Pwi"^, xxx, 109-117 :— 

" Non pur per opra delle rote magn«, 

Che drizzan ciaacun seme ad alcun fine 
Secondo che le slelle son compagne ; 

Id of 
that \ 

Canto XXVI. Rfadin^s (m the TnfeYno. 


Then I sorrowed, and even now do I sorrow again* 
when I direct my memory to what I saw ; and I 

Ma per larghezza di grazie divine, 

Che &I alti vapori hanno a lor piova, 
Che nostre vtste lii non van vjcine, 
Quest! fu ta! nella sua vita nuova 

Vinualmcnte, ch' ogni abito destro 
Fatto averehbe in lui mirabi] prova." 
And Par, ixii, 112-114: — 

'* O g^lorioae sttlle, Jume prcgno 

Di gran virtij, dal quale lo rtconoaco 
Tutto, qual che si sia, lo mio ingcgno." 
\ m' tnvidi : Dr. Moore {Studies in DantCj i, p. 84) observes 
that the nid Commentators seem unanimous in explaining in* 
viJ$ by prtvart or io^litrc. The Gran Diziurtario (s.v, invidiarc^ 
$4) says: "Invtdiare una cosa ad alcuno vale ToglUrglUta^ 
Ufmuirglielit ; e si dice di chi non permette o non snifre che 
altri goda un bene." And ihld, § 3 = " n)icesi pure InvidUre una 
ecut a u sUiso, nel senso medesimo. Latini«mo.'^ The present 
psBsage Ch* to stesso itol m' invidi is then interpreted thus : 
" Non me lo toiga abusandone." Compare Virg. ^n. viii, 50S, 

**Scct mihi tarda Rclu saeclisque eA'eta scnectua 
Ifividet imperium." 
And Horace, iv, Carm, \i, 22-24 ' — 

"Vires animumque moresquc 
Aureos educit in astra, nigroque 
Invidct Oreo." 
See Mortrc, Studies i» Dante^ i, pp. 82*83. Compare also Tasso, 
Grr. Lih, v'n, st 15: — 

"Ondc albuon vccchio dice : 'O fortunate 

Ch* un tempo conosccsti il malll a prova, 
Sc non r invidii il Ciel sJ doEcc slato, 
Dellc miacric mic pietj, ti mova.'" 
And ihid. xvi, si. 60 :— 

'■ Chiudcati I lumi, Armida : tl Cieln avaro 
lnvidi6 il conforto ai tuoi martiri," 
il has been uttual to quote from Ecclus. niv, 6, " Qui sibi invidet 
^'hij ctii illo nequius,'' in illustration of the passage in Dante. 
^w Dr, Moore {t.e.) ihinks the resemblance is buE superficiaL 
f^inte^cnnsicinus of more than average intellectual giftSt grieves 
1° think of the punishment which the misuse of such gifts had 
woU|;bl upon the E^il Counsellors, and the recollection of 
'wir puni*hmen( mukca him doubly cautious how he uses 
■*cJi tatdrttv The text in Ectlus. is denouncing a man too 

338 Readings on iht Inferno. Canto xxvi. 

rein in my intelligence more than I am wont, that 
it travel not unless Vmue guide it ; so that if a 
fortunate star, or something belter [i.t. the Grace 
of God) has bestowed upon me the good {i.e. an 
elevated mind), I may not deprive myself of it 
(through my own fault). 

Dante now describes his first view of the punish- 
ment of the Evil Counsellors, each of whom has to 
run along the Valley so completely enveloped in the 
flame of his own torment as to be hidden from view. 
As his eye scans them from the commanding height 
of the bridge, the moving lights dotted about in the 
gloom remind him of fire>l1ies on a hilK^ide in a 
summer night, a familiar spectacle to all who have 
lived in Italy. 

Qwante * it vilian, ch' a! poggio si riposa, 

Nel tempn che colui che il mondo achiara 
La faccia sua a not tien meno a.scDs«L, 

Come la moaca cede alia xcfteara, 
Vcde lucciole giti per ta vallca, 
Forst: colA dovt vcndrmmiaf ed ara : 


ni^e^rdly tn enjoy the good jtjifls of fortune. He^ni^f^ themj 

to himself, and thus deprives himself of them, 

* QuanU : This reading is supported by overwhelming MJ 
authority, and Dr. Moore (Textuai Ctiticism, pp. 537, 3J8^ re 
marks: ''Thia 15 an instructive instance nf corruption of th« 
text arising from a lon^ construction, and is a cast v*ry similal 
to that in xviti, 14, but the construction here is a good dca' 
longer, since quautr is not supplied with the substantive fu 
with which it agrees, till the fourth line below. The con 
tion here is emphasised by Di tantr Jiammc In L 3,1,, Tha 
therefore can be decisively settled here, and the prim 
easier readings, QuaU, Quando^ Cmnty etc., aaay be unt 
inyly rejected* 

t dove vmtUmmia means, in his vineyards, tUntt mrm, in hn 


Canto XXVI. Readinf^s on the Inferno. 


Di tante fiamme tuttn risplendea * 

L*^ ottava bolgia^ si com' io m' accorsi 
Toato ch' io fui 14 'vc il fondo parea. 

As many fire-flies as the peasant, who is resting 
ou the hiU-sJde — at the season when he who illu- 
mines the world {i e, the Sun) keeps his face least 
hid from us ((',*?. m summerly just when (at night- 
fall) the fly gives place to the mosquito — sees below 
him along the valley, there perchance where he 
makes his viniage and ploughs (hia land): with 
as many flames was the Eighth Bolg'm glittering 
throughout, as I perceived, so soon as I was at 
that spot where its depth was exposed to view. 

He means that he had reached the centre of the 

bridge that crossed the chasm. From this point it 

* riiplaidia : It seems quite unnecessary to have to explain 
that riipUnden means simply '* to shinCj to glitter," etc., the 
reduplication ri being merely an accrescitive, aind in nowise 
expressing iteration. In fact rispknJere cannot mean "to 
re-shine, to re-glow," I mention this because a reviewer in 
a liteRir)' journal criticised mj- version of rhpknde in Par. i, 2, 
contending 1 ought to have translated it *' re-glows." Knowing 
the utter absurdity of such a rendering, I wrote to Professors 
ViUari, D' Ovidto, and Scherillo, all of whom took my transla- 
tion as a matter of course, Professor Villari remarking: "In 
your rendering of ris^/rtji/t:, j-nu nf course are right, and your 
critic wrong/' I wrote a letter to the journal in question, but 
the Editor declined to publish it. This is how grave mistakes 
in tranaiation get stereotyped. Dr. Moore, who has read this 
note, writes to me emphatically agreeing with it, and notices 
that the same inaccuracy occurs in the Temple Classics Edition 
of the Paradiso at Canto, i, i^ where rtspitiidf is translated "re- 
gluweth,'^ a version which no Italian will endorse ! Compare 
^n. *i, 2oj-2og, where Virgil describes how the whole country- 
udc wa« lighted up by the Igneral pyr(--s on which were being 
consumed the bodies of the Latin warriors filain in battle : — 
'* Nee mmu^ ct mi^scri dtversa in parte Latini 
Innumcraa struxcre pyras, ct corpora partim 
Multa virum terrac infodiunt^ avectaque partim 
Fioitimns tollunt in aRros, urbique remittunt j 
Cetera^ confusaequc tngentem cacdis acervum ^ 

Nee numero nee hnnore, eremant ; tunc undique vnsti 
Certatim crebris collucenl ignibus. agri." 

II. ya 


Readings on iJu Infema, Canto xxvt. 

is that he has discerned innumerable flames. In 
each of these a sinner is concealed, the Hre alone 
being visible. The moving Hames suggest to Dante's 
mind the simile that foUovvs, namely, that when 
Elijah was caught up to Heaven in a chariot of fire, 
Blisha, who stood gazing upwards^ his eye following 
his beloved master ascending higher and higher and 
lessening in the sky, gradually lost the power of dis- 
tinguishing the shapes of the chariot of fire, the 
horses of fire, and the form of Elijah himself, a 
distant flame alone remaining visible to his eye. 

E qua] colui che si vcngift con gli orsi,* 

Vide il carro d' Eltaf al dipartirc, 35 

Quando i cavaDi at cieto crti Icv&m, X 

*ii vengia con gli ofsi : Sec 2 Kings ii, 33, 34: "Aftd he 

[Elisha] went up from thenccr unto Bethel : and as he was 
going up by the way, there came forth little children [In 
Kcvi^cd Version *' young Lads "j out of the city, and mocked 
him and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head ; go up, thou 
bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and 
cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth 
two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children 
of them/' 

fcttrru d' Eiiit : Compare a Kings ii, n, 12 : "And it cnmc 
to pa»s, as they still went on. and talked, that, behold, there 
appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them 
both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into hca\-cn. 
And Klisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my fatherl Ihe 
chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof." 

I Uvor\ii(tr Uvofosi : ^annxicc'i (Attatisi Critica^ pp. tSS and 
19a) observes that in ofd Italian the third persons plural were 
subject to divers lermi nations, and in verbs of the fiiai conju- 
gation (his might be cither in ui-iiM^, rfVo, as ttrrMrotny, amJrv ; 
or in orotfo, Sro, as timoronot amorxt^ i/vtYn'm', i^v^ro, etc. Com- 
pare II Bcato jatnpone (a poet contemporar) with 1>antc), lib. 
iii, Od. viii, ag, 30 : — 

" In^inocchiorsi in quelia 
Davanii alia potzella." 
And ibiet. lib, v, Cunt, xxxiv, 16 : — 


Canto XXVI. Readings on ike Inferno, 


Ch& nnl potea si con gli occhi scguire 

Ch' CL vcdes^c altro che la fiamma soia^ 
Si come nuvoletta, in bu salire : 

Ta.1 si movea ciascuna per La gota 

Del fossn, ch^ nessuna mnstra il furta,* 
Ed ogni fiamma un pcccatore invola.t 

And as he (Elisha), who by means of the bears 
avenged himself, beheld the chariot of Elijah at 
its departure (from earth)* when the horses uplifted 
thennselves erect to Heaven— ^because he could not 
so fotTow it with his eyes as to see more than the 
fiame alone soaring on high even as a ti^ht cloud 
— ^in such wise was moving each (of those flames) 
along the gor^e of the fosse (below us), for not one 
of them discloses its theft {i.e. concealed prey), and 
every flame steals away {i.e. hides} a sinner. 


" GiS tiromo quattfo vcnli 
Che turborno La mia mcntc." 
And DittamoMdVf lib. tii, cap. 5: — 

'^ Similementc stati tra colore 

Che in sulLa Parma con gran rivercnza 
Alcuna voLla festeg^iomo il tnro.'' 
And Dame in /«/. nrxxtii, sg, 60:— 

** Ed el, pcnaando ch' id '\ fcssi per voglia 
Di manicar^ di sviLiito Icvflr&i," etc. 
lannucci draws special attentinn to the fact that kvdrsi is a 
ope o( Uvomsi^ si tevSrv (the old Italian form), and not of 

*/Mrtu ; The word is used here melaphnrically to signify the 
thing concealed. Compare Racine, AthttUc, Act i, sc. 2, where 
the Hifih Pricijl Jehoiflda (yiwrf) tells Jehoshcba ijusahit) that 
ll\c time is come to reveal the existence of the young King 
Jnash, whom she has so fortunalety hidden away from the 
^^ven«ance of Athaliah« He speaks of the king as her "happy 

^H^ " L<5 tempH fLont accomplis, Princes&e, il faut parler, 
^H Et voire heureux iitr^itt ne peut plus se cacbcr." 

^P t cgni jiamma uu fft^dttttre invola : Compare Jame-i ijj, 6 : — 
f •• And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity : ao is the tongue 
I ...^wta' nyr members, that it defileth the whole body, and 
n fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxvi. 

In his usual quaint style, Benvenuto points out 
how completely is the comparison in harmony with 
the fact ; for as Elisha (Eliseus) could discern nought 
else but the flame, and was totally unable to dii^tin- 
guish Elijah veiled in it, »o Dante, a second Elisha 
{alier EUsetis), seeing that he was descended from the 
Elisei (dt- Blh^is), as has been said elsewhere and will 
be repeated later on, could simply see tlames glancing 
about, though he could not perceive the souls thai 
were veiled within them. 

Division II j — As Dantej standing dangerously near 
the ed^e of the bridge, gazes down on the lurid scene 
below him, musing on the fate of the shades, and 
wondering who they might have been in life, his eye 
is attracted by one of the flames that is divided into 
a two-fold forked crest, and he asks his Master what 
shade is confined within it. It reminds him of the 
legend of the rival brothers Eteocles and Polyniccs, 
who were so inveterately hostile to each other in life, 
that on their funeral pyre their very ashes parted 
asunder, and from it there ascended a ftame with 
a two-fold head. 

lo stava sopra il ponle a veder surto,* 

Si che, s' io non avesat un ronchion preso, 
Cadulo sarei giCi senea esser urto. 45 

*sttrto : Many of the ComnieTitators and Translators aecmto 
agree that ihc word, as used here, signifies something more than 
merely standing upright. Buti seems tL> give the meaiiini* best, 
namely, that it ia^ impossible Tor a man tn crtntinue liv stand for 
an itidefititte period of time, in an attitude perfectly erect, %o 
motionleus as not to move hand or foot. Were he to aucmpt 
to do sD^he would fall down if he did not lean upon something ; 
because, if the body Is abandoned by the activity of the mind 
wtihin itt it loi^es its powcTt as happens if a man falls aslcrp ur 


Canto XXVI. Readings on the Inferno. 


E il Duca, the mi vide tanto atteso, 

Di^sc: — " Dentro da' fochi son gli spirti : 
Ciascun si fascia* di quel ch' cg!i ^ inceso."— 

— " Maestro mio,"— rjspos' io,—" per udirti + 

Son io piu certo ; ma g^k vcC era avviso X 50 

diea^ Dante had probably been climbing up ihc rocky heights 
of the bridge on his hand» and kneca : bul^ havinf^; rtaehed the 
ftummit, s-tartcd up on his feet on perceiving »he weird spectacle 
in the chasm below ; a position exceedingly dangerous had he 
not litcadied himself against a rack as he stooped forward to 
look down. 

* ii fascia : Biagioli remarks upon the appropriateness of this 

' lorment to the I-raudulent Counsellors, whose artifice In life had 

been to work their insidious machinations in paths hidden from 

mortal eyes. See Canto Kxvii, 76-78. where Guido da Monte- 

feliro says of himself :— 

" Gli flccorpimenli e le coperte vie 

Io seppi tutte ; e ai menai lor arte, 
Ch' al fine della terra il suonn uscie/' 
In Heil these sinners, by being; externally concealed from view 
in a burning Aame, are for ever reminded of the cause of their 

fprr udtrti : Compare Purg, xxvi, 52, 93 : — 
** Son Guido Gutnizellif e gl^ mi purgo 
Per ben dolermt prima ch' all' estrcmo." 
Sec also Inf. iv^ 25, 2& :— 

'* Quivii sccondo che per ascoltare, 

Non avca pianto, ma' che di sospiri/* etc, 
{ «' rra avviso : Equivalent to the Latin mihi visum crat^ it 
seemed to me, I believed. Compare Ariosto, Orl. Fur. xi, 
at. It :— 

** B circa il vespro, po) che rinfrescossi, 
E le fu avviso csser posata assai." 
And Petrarch, Trmnfv drila Fama, part li^ h-rz. 14 :^ 
"Com' io mi volsif il buon Pirro ebbj acorto, 

E '1 buon re Masainissa : c gtl era avviso 
D' esaer senza i Roman, ricever torto." 
On tlic use of the impersonal verb avvisiirsi in the sense of 
tgamhrartt Nannucci {ManuaU, vol. t, p. 454) refers to an ex* 
ample in the Ttsoretio of Brunetto Latini : — 

" Di nejTfihicnza m' avvisa [mi stmbra] 
Che naacc convotisa." 
And Dante da Maiano, a contemporary and friend nf Dante^ in 
one of hia Cn^iioni (in Nannucci's ManuaUt vol, i^ p. 325) ! — 


Readings on tfu Inferno. Canto xs 

Che cost fuase, e gii volcva dirti : 
Chi i in que] foco, chc vien si diviso ♦ 
Di sopra, chc par stirgcr dcHa pira, 
Ov* Ete6cle col fratel fu miso ? "^ 

I was standing upon the bridge to look, so erect, 
that had I not laid hold on a rock, I should have 
fallen down without being pushed. And the 
Leader^ who saw me so absorbed, said : " Within 
those fites are the spirits : each one is swathed by 
that with which he is enkindled," *'0 my Master/' 
said 1, " from hearinfj thee I feel more assured (of 
the factj ; but 1 had already surmised that it might 
be »o, and already wa* wishing to say to thee: 
" Who is in that fire which is approaching, so 
divided at the top, that it seems as if it aacended 
from the pyre on which Eteocles was laid with his] 
brother ? *' 

Virgil tells Dante what he wants to know. 
Risposemi :--" L.k etitro &i martira 
Uli&se e Diomede, e cosi indcme 
Alia vendetta vnnno come alt' ira: 

" N& cosa altra gr&dita 
Alia vostra bctlate 
Manca, donna (sacciate) 
Chc pieti : cio m' awissa [mi Sfmbt^ay* 
*/fKOt che vien si diviso^ ct acq. ; On this Dr, Moore (Studiei in 
Dante, \, p. s^fi) remarks: " 'J'hts comparison of the divided 
flame containing the spirilii of Uh^sst-K und Diomcdc li> that 
which arose from the funeral pyre of Eteocles and Polyniccti, is 
clearly suggested by StatJUs, Thrk xi'w 42ii-4iJt ^ — 

* Ecce iterum fratres^ ; primos ut contigit aftus 

l^nis cdax, tremuere rogi, ct nevus advcna bustii 

Pellitur : cxundant diviso vcrlice dammae, 

Altemosque apices abmpta lace coruscant.' 

Especially compare the words exunJant diviso vtrUat /tamm 

with these quoted above." Compare also Lucan, Pkaru 

" Vcstali raptua ab ars 
Ignis, et Obtcndchs confcctaa Aamma Latinaa 
Scinditur in partes, ecminnque cacuminc surgit, 

ThebanoB Imitata rogos." 

'Canto xxvh Headinfrs on the Inferno, 

E dentro dalla lor 6amine si gemc 

L' ag^ato del caval * che fe' la porta 
Ond' usci dc' Rormani il genlii semc»+ 

Piangevisi entro I' arte per che morta 
DeidaTnia. ancor si duo! | d' Achllle, 
E del Palladio § pena vi si porta." — 



Z.'dg'Udfo deieav&lt Compare Virg, Mtt. ji, 195-198: — 
" Talibus insidiis pcrjuriquearle Sjnonis 

CredJta res, captique dolls lacrj'misque coactis, 
Quos ncque Tydides, nee Larissaeus AchiHes, 
Non anni domuere decerns non mitle carinae." 
In Inf. XXX, the punishment of Sinan among the Fal&ifiers in 
the Tenth Bolgia is described; and [\\. tid-izo) the coiner 
Adamo da Brescia thus taunts him with his cotrlrivancc of the 
wooden horse :-^ 

t"' Ricorditi, spcfgiurn, del cavallo,' 
Rispose quel ch' avea enfiata I' epa ; 
' E aiati reo che tutto (1 mondo saUo.'" 
iilgcntiiume: Compare Virg. ^«. i, 286 : — 
•' Nascetur pulchraTrojanus origine Caesar." 
And ibid, ig'23 : — 
" Progeniem sed enim Trojano a sanguine duci 
i Audieratf Tyrlas ohm quae verteret arces^ 

Hinc populurHf laU- re^em, belloque superbum» 
Venturum esciflio Libyae : sic volvcre Parcas.^* 
I Parte fvr che morta Ditdamta ancor si liuci : An oracle having 
declared that Troy never could be taken without Achilles, 
L'tysses and Diomede cfmtrtved to separate hrm from his wife, 
or reputed wife, Deidamia, daughter of Lycomedes, King of 
Scyros, but concealed from Achilles the fact that it had been 
dccrr«I by the same oracle that he should die before Troy. 

5 Pailfuiu* : The ftlatue of Pallan, preserved in the citadtl of 
Trciv» nn the safe custody on which the safety of the city was 
(chevcd to depend UlysHcs and Diomede carried it off by 
craft. The story is related at length by Statius in hia AchiiUis^ 
i and ii- See also Virg. tEh. ii^ ib3'i08 : — 
" . . . Impius ex quo 
Tydides sed enim, scelerumquc inventor Ulysses, 
Patale aggrcssj sacrato avellere tcmplo 
Palladium, cacsis summae custodibus arcis, 
Corripuere sacram cfTif^icni, mariibUHquc crucntid 
\'irgincafi ausi Divae ctmtihgere vttta*/^ 
Dr. Pajgct Toynbee in his Datttt Dkitottary (s,v. Dio»t<dt\ says 
that Dante'fr chief authority fof the incidents of the Trojan 


Rc'Uiiintis uH Uk In/ernv. Canlo xwi. 

He answered me : " There within are being tor- 
mented Ulysaes and Diorriede» and thus speed 
they along together in punishment {iit. to venge- 
ance) as (formerly) in their wrath (against the Tro- 
jans) ; and within their flame they have lo groan 
for the ambush of the horse, which made the door 
(of entrance) from out of which issued the noble 
seed of the Romans {Lt. ^^tuas). Therein have 
they to weep for the artifice, on account of which 
Deidamia^ though dead, still mourns for Achilles^ 
and therein is being paid tbe pienalty for the 

Benvenuto remarks that these two shades had in 
life wrought many deeds which one could not have 
performed without the other; Ulysses was the head 
and brain to devise ; Diomede the strong arm (o 
execute. Of the braveiy of Diomede, Homer has 
written many noteworthy instances in the Uiati ; 
and of the prudence of Ulysses many things told in 
the Iliad are wonderful, while those related in the 
Odyssey are incredible, 

Dante, on hearing what great spirits there are 
near him, is inspired with the keenest interest, and 
most earnestly petitions Virgil to grant his prayer, 

war was Dictys Crctcnsis^ who (Df BHh Trojtino, v, 5,' 8) de- 
scribes the betrayal and Jiurrcnder of the Palladium lo the 
Greeks as having been the Act of Antcnnr, who was Also the 
treacherous belrayer of Troy: "Duces nnstrl cognoscunt ab 
Antenore edilum quondam oraculum Trojanis maximo exitio 
cjvitati fure si Palladium, quod in templo Mincn-Ac essct, 
extra moenia tolleretur , . . eadem nocte Anlcnor clani in 
tcmplum Mincrvae ventt- ubi mutlis prccibus vi mixtis Thcano, 
quae ei tcrnplo sacerdo*s crat, ptnsuasil, uti Palladium s-ibi tr«- 
dci-ft, habituram namquc msKria ejus fci pracmia. tta pcr- 
fccto negotio ad nostroa venit^ hisqge promihsium offcrt : verom 
id Gracci obvolutum bene, qui> nc intcUi^i quoquam po^scl, 
vehiculo ad tentorium Ulys&is per necc«sanoii Adosquc suoa 

Canto XXVI. Reading on th( Inferno. 


and, as he hints without saying so, give him leave to 
converse with them. 

— *' S' ei posson dentro da qucMc favilic * 

Pariar,** — diss' Jo — " Maes^tro, &ssaI ten prcgu 65 
E ripregOf che il pregof vaglia mille, 
Che non mi facci dell' allcnder ncgo^ 

Finchfe la fiamma cornuta qua vegna ; 
Vedi che da) diajo vir let mi piego."— 

" If they from within those sparkiing flames can 
speakj" said I^ " Master, tnuch I pray thee, and re- 
pray, that my prayer may count ibr a thousand, 
that thou wilt not deny my waiting until the flame 
with (two) horns cornea this way ; sec how with 
desire I bend me towards it." 

Vir^l commends Dante's request, but there are 
few passages in all the Divitta Commedia containing 
more difficulties and apparently more inconsistencies 
than Virgil's answer. It is not only in the lines 
that now foUow that the interpretation must be 
soughtir but also in II. 19-33 of the next Canto, 
where Guido da Montefeltro notices, that in dis- 

*favlUe t Tommasio intctprets this " vampc sfavillanti," 1'.*, 
"flames emitting sparki^/' Compare Claudian, Liber De Belto 
G^ko, I. 2^ : — 

" Rt juga taurorum rapidia ambusla faviflis." 

fitM prtgo E riprego, (htr ii pre^Q, etc.; On the frequency of 

Dante's um of such-like plays on words, which Blanc {Sai^^iu^ 

pp. lab-isS) thinks he neither sought out nor avoided, see note 

I tnf. xiii. 35. where (he subject is di^u^ussed at Itn^h with 

(Terence lu Ihc words : — 

** lo credo th' ci crcdcttc ch' 10 crcdcwe," etc. 
J iMSfiP fttanda here hr nt^nutivii. According to Di Siena the 
r»t penion of the verb in used as a substantive ; just us il 
in the preceding line stands for pn^huru. So in Ihe 
riv writer* we find */ Juitteni for i7 dtuhitrio ; il ditbito for 1/ 
iio nr it Jubitare. 


Readings on the Infimo, Canto xxvl 

missing the shade of Ulysses, Virgil had spoken 
in the Lombard dialect. Immediately aftem-ards 
Virgil commands Dante to speak to Guido, because 
he (Virgil lays stress on the he) Is Latin, i.e. 

Let us consider these two passages as a whole. 
Virgil understands that Dante wants to address the 
two ancient Greek spirits, and to obtain from Ulysses 
the true story of how he perished, a circumstance 
much debated in Dante's tirae. Virgil practically 
says to Dante : " Yes, you shall obtain the informa- 
tion you seek, but it is I who must address themi 
because they were Greeks, and will probably shrink 
from conversing with you (-iarM^ro schivi , , , /r>rsir 
del tuo deito)." What does delta signify ? Does it 
mean the thoughts Dante would express, or the lan- 
guage in which they would be uttered ? If VirEil 
meant that Ulysses and Diomede would not under- 
stand Dante» and would understand him, how comes 
it that w^c find Guido (xxvii, 3o, 21) remarking that 
Virgil has been speaking in the Lombard dialect ? 
Would the shades of ancient Greece understand 
Lombard any better than they could understand 
Tuscan ? And» if they could only converse in Greek, 
then we may ask, in what language was the unseemly 
squabble carried on that is recorded in Canto x\x, 
between the ancient Greek Sinon (sumamed) of Troy, 
and the modern Italian coiner Adamo da Brescia? 

None of the Commentators except Castclvctro 
have addressed themselves in earnest to decipher 
the real meaning of these two passages. 

The more common interpretation is that by Grtti, 


^anto XXVI. Readings on the Inferno. 


Virgil meant sup£rbi\ altieri* and that these Greeks, 
having been great personages in their own time, 
would disdain to speak with Dante, who was not 
yel known to fame. It is certain that Virgil appeals 
to them as having some title to address them ; and 
it is maintained by some Commentators, that the 
fact of his having written about their achievements 
in the Mnttd may have been thought to constitute 
a reason for the right he claims. Against this it 
may be urged, that although Virgil did write about 
them^ he did not represent them at all in a favour- 
able light. Whenever he mentions them, he shows 
that all his sympathies are with the Trojans, and not 
v%-tih the Greeks; and he does not hesitate to speak 
wiih severe censure of the craft and deceit to which 
these two had resorted. On the other hand, it is 
arjjued that although Virgil's sympathies were not 
shown to be with the Greeks in the ^-Encid, and 
although he characterises the artifices of Ulysses 
and Diomede as having been fraudulent and treach- 
erous, yet he celebrated these very deeds as the 
flt^eds of great men, even though he did not take 
'^Jcir part. 

rassit propounded the CNtraordinary theory that 
'irgil wished to delude Ulysses into thinking he 
^'^H Homer! Hut Homer would certainly not have 

I addrestsed two of the heroes of his own poem in the 

I niodern Lombard dialect I 

I Another argumenl is that in Inf. xv, Dante claims 

^J** have been descended from the ancient Romans, 

f^^ *TAcilu« (AnnaL ii^ 88) i^pcaking of the Ori:ckK, ^Aya: — 

''GraeconiTn Bnnii]ibu& ignotus^ qui sua tantum (nirantur," 


Readings on the Inferno. C^into xxv 

xvr. I 

who in their turn were supposed to tal<e ori^n from 
the Trojans under /Enftts. Virgil was a Mantuan. 
Mantua was founded by Manto, who in her wander- 
ings before she settled down on the site of Nfantua 
was accompanied by a retinue of Grecian adven- 
turers, from one of whom Virgil may have been 
descended. Hence, according to this argument, 
Ulysses and Diomede might be supposed to be 
averse from speaking with Dante, a descendant of 
the Trojans, but to have no such repugnance to 
Virgil, as sprung from an ancient Greek stock. 

Castelvetro, after using many of the above argu- 
ments, concludes thus : "All the same, I fancy thai 
'Dante did not term Ulysses and Diomede Greeks by 
reason of their nationality, but on account of their 
antiquity, since the dominion and prosperity of the 
Greeks was long before that of the Romans, and 
that by * Greeks' he means 'ancients'; seeing that 
in his journey through Hell Dante never enters into ■ 
any conversation with any ancient personages, either 
Greek, Roman, or of any other nationality* but only 
with modems ; and perhaps when (in Canto xxvii, 
33) Virgil said to Dante about Count Guido da 
MontefeUro, Parla tu^ qiusti e latino^ he meant to ^ 
say: 'This is a man of modem times/ And th« ■ 
reason may be also, that Dante does not profess ~ 
to know ancient history nor ancient teaching, as 
Virgil did." 

Ed cgli a mc;— *' La lua prcghicra 4 degna 70 ^ 

Ui motta ]odc. cd io per6 1' accetto;* 

* r accetto : In the Gran Vocabotario dtila CruMcm^ s.v. metttUrt, 
8 t, I find : " AcconBentire a ci& che ne vien propwto o diman* 

!anto XXVI. Readings on the Inferno. 3SI 

Ma fa chc la tua lingua si sostegna. 
Lascia parlare a me: ch' iq ho concetto 

Cio chc lu vuoi; ch' ci sarebbcro schivi, 

Perch' ci fur Greci, forse del tuo detto." — 75 

And he to me ; " Thy prayer is worthy of much 
commendation^ and therefore I grant it ; bul take 
heed thai thy tongue restrain itself. Leave it to 
me to speak: inasmuch as I have conceived what 
thou wishtst; for they, because they were Greeks, 
might perchance be disdainful of thy words." 

Virgil, having undertaken to be the spokesman, 
watches his lime very carefully, both as to the most 
favourable moment for the shades to hear him, and 
also for a convenient spot for their f^ame to pause, so 
that he and Dante may be able to hear them. He 
claims their consideration on account of his poetry 
about them, and Tommas^o remarks that Virgil did 
not in everj- instance represent them in an odious 
light, and certainly had immortalized them. 

Poichi la fiamma fu venuta quivi, 

Dove parvc al mio Duca tempo e loco 
In questa forma. * lui parlare audivj : t 

d»io"; and the present passage is quoted in illustration. Also 
Ario^to, OrL Fur. xxvi, 94 :— 

*' Eppur non vuol scco accellar V imptesa ; 
Tanto r asscdio del suo re gli pesa," 
•/« quiita formn : Equivalent to in qwiia guisa. Compare 
T18S0, Gir, Lih, xii» st. 6q : — 

" E la man nuda e fredda al/ando verso 
II L-avaliero^ jn vece di parole, 
Gli dk pc^nn di pace. In quvuta fnrma 
Fas&a ta bclla donna, t par che dorma." 
FtfMiiifi ^for ud((j ; Nannucci iAtial. Crii. pp. i6i) saya that 
I verbs of the third conjugation the Arat person Kinguiar of the 
~ tX tense, among all old ttalian writers, used to be made to 
tte in ivi as in Latin. Compare Furf^. wi, 69 :^ 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxvi. 

— *' O vol, che aiete due dentro ad un foco, 

S' io meritai di voi* mentrc ch' io viasi, So 

S' io meritsL di vdi sBsai o poco, 

Quandn ncE mondo gli alii versf t scrlssi, 
Kon vj movete ; ma 1' uii di voi dica J 
Dove per lui perduto a morir gisai.** — § 

As soon as the f^ame had come to that point wh«re 
time and place seemed fitting to m3' Leader, I beard 
him speak after this manner: '* O ye. who are two 
within one fire, if while 1 lived I deserved aught of 

" Quant" io calcaj fin che chinato ^ivi " 
Nannucci quotes the following from early Italian pods. From 
Dante da :- — 

" Di ci6 ch' audivi dir pritnteraitiiente.'' 
Again : — 

" Non come audivi il trovo ccrtamentc." 
Hrunetto Lalini, Teiortthu cap. i : — 
" Ch' audivi dir die tcne 
Ogn' uom^ ch' ill mondo vene," « 

And RugRerone da Palcrino, Canzone ; — 
^' O Dto I come fui matlo, 
Quondn mi djparlivi 
LS Q\j* era stato in tanta dignitate." 
And Giacomo Pugliesi :— 

" Allntta ch' io mi parlivi 
E dissi : a Dio v' accomando." 
* S' io meritai lii voi : Dante seems to have imitated this ver>- 
common Latin idinm from Virgil, --Ew. iv, 316-319. where Dido, 
imploring ^Etuus not li> dcaeii her, says lo him — 

'* Per connubia nostra, per inceptos Hynicnaetvs ; 
Si bene quid de te merui, fuit nut tibj quiHquam 
Dulcc meuni : miserere domils luhenlis, et t!*tAm, 
Oro» si quia adhuc prctibua locus, exuc mentem." 
* ^ii aiti versi : In /n/. xx, 1 1 j, Virgil spcakn of the jHntid a« 
'* I' alta mia Tragcdia." 

I r un lit voi liicii, etc.: Virgil knnws very well tKat UlysMm 
alone is the object of Dante's cu^D^ity. 

^Pff Ihi . . . gi^ii it) the »amc as tgli u n* 4ndA, }\ it no idio- 
matic cKprcssiun, Connparc Virgil, ,^«. iv, 151 : — 

*' PoRtquam altos vcntum in montcs, atque invia luatra." 
And Horace, i Sat. ix. 35 :— 

" Ventuifl eral ad Veslae," 

' Canto xxvL Rea^inga on the Inferno. 


you, if 1 deserved of you much or little, when in the 
world I wrote my lofty verses, move not away ; but 
kt one of you tell, whither, being lost, he went to 

As Castelvetro (pp, 54S-350) points out, it is always 
Virgil who talks with the shades of the ancient per- 
sonages the Poets encounter ; Dante only speaks to 
the modern, with the sole exception of the occasion 
when he was admitted into the circle of the great 
Poets presided over by Homer, Dante says that he 
was the sixth amid so much learning, and speaking 
on matters of which it was well to be silent on earth, 
even as it was well to speak on them there, in Limbo. 
In Canto xiil it is Virgil who addresses the Centaurs, 
and it is he who in Canto xiv reproves Capaneus for 
his rebellious arrogance. 

Division IV. — The remainder of the Canto ts taken 
ap by the answ^er of the shade of Ulysses to Virj^il, 
in which he gives a thrilling account of his last voyage 
and death. Mr. Butler observes that the source from 
whence Danle derived the idea of the end of Ulysses 
remains obscure, but that in Dante's time there were 
clearly old translations, now lost, of Greek works, to 
which he had access. Di Siena remarks that it was 
a fundamental part of the creed of ancient times that 
no one could travel beyond the Pillars of Hercules and 
live. As Dante elected to describe Ulysses as sailing 
beyond those limits, he was bound either to make him 
perish at sea or to represent him as the discoverer of 
a new world. The fiction becomes more plausible 
when one remembers that the Germans are said by 
Tacitus (Dt 9noribu$ Gertnanorumf ch. 3) to have held 
II. 2 


Readings m the Inferno. Canto xxvi. 

in olden times the belief that Ulysses did penetrate to 

some land across the sea, and founded Acisburgum 
(now Asberg, a small town near Moers in Prussia); 
though Strabo believes it was Lisbon, originally called 

Lo mafgior como della fiamma antica 
Comincio a crollarai mormorandOjt 
Pur come qucIJa cui vcnto affatica.^ 
Indi la cima qua e 1^ mcnando. 

Come Tosse la lingua chc parlasse^jj 
Gittft voce di fuori, c dissc : — "Quando go 

Mi dipartt' da Circe,|| che sottrasse Y 

'^Claudian (in Ruffinum, i, 125-125) speaks of an island in the 
Ocean, inhabited by the spirits of the dead^ at which Uly&sea 
touched during his voyage:— 

*' Est Locus, extremum pandit qua Gallia littus, 
Oceani proetenlus aquis, ubj fertur Ulixes 
Sanguine libato paputum movisse silcntcm.** 
+ Co'iiirtcio a croilursi monrioran^i' : Compare In/. kJtviif 5, 6 ;— 
" Ne fece volger gli occhi alia sua cima. 
Per un confuso suon che fuor n' uscia.'* 
XaffntUa has the force of ihe Latin /srfigirfj^wd;, •'to weary, 
to keep in exercise, to agitate, to excite, to disturb, to smite." 
Compare Horace, 3 Carm. ix, 5-8: — 
". . ^ Stat glacics incrs 
Menses peromnea; aut Aquilonibus 
Qucrccta Gargant labnrant 
Et foliis viduantur omi." 
g }a liiif^Uit die parlasse : Compare Inf. xxvii, 16-18 :^ 
'' Ma poscia ch' ebbcr colto lor viaggio 

Su per la punta, dandole quel ^uizio 
Che dale avea la lingua in lor paMAggio," 
\] Circe : Dr. Moore {Sludu^ in Dante^ i, p. 216) thinks Dante 
probably derived his tradilion— although the ston>* was a wrll- 
known one— from Ovid, Metam. xiv. It struck Dr. Moore a«. 
curious that Dante should make Ul^'sses sa}M|]. 91. 92) that 
he was detained by Circe for more than a year ; but after 
referring to possible sources, he (Dr. Moore) met with a similar 
statemcril in Mctum. xiv, 308 : — 

"Annua nos illic teutiil mora/' 
Line 93 in particular sccma distinctly derived from VirKtl's 
brief reference to the same story in .-Ch. vsi, nt-xa. 
^ sod ram: : Tribsino in his paraphrase renders tbia nucmc 

Canto xxvL Readings on tht Inferno. 


Me pm d' un anno U presso a Gaeta^* 
Prima che si Enca La nominasse ; 

N^ doEccz^fl di fiEliOi+ nft la picta 

Del vecchio padre, n4 il debito amtyre^ 
Lo qual dovca Penelope far licta, 

Vincer pot^r dentro da me I' ardorc 

Ch' r cbbt a divcnir del mondo esperto, 
E degli vizL umani e del valore : X ' 


_ mondo. That view is followed by Volpi, Lombardi, 
Sninone Bianchi and Scartazzini, and I adopt it alao. Tom- 
masto thinks it is ^^Tarned mc aside from my destiny'*; and 
Di Siena "Sloie mc away from myself." 

^Gatta: So called by .'1£ncas after hi^s nurse Caieta, who 
died there. Compare Virg. Mn, vji, 1-4: — 
^^ " Tu quoque llttoribua noslrls, ^neia nulrix, 

^^L .'^tcrnam moriens famam, Caieta, dedisti \ 

^^P Et nunc servat honos sedem tuu?, ossaque nomen 

^V Hesperia in magna (si qua est ea glana) ^i^naL" 

^V idchexza di Jij^iie, et seq. ; Pietro di Dante does not seem 
I to ra,(e conjugal affection very highly, for noticing that Ulysses 
mentions first the love nf his son, then that for his father, and 
lastly the obligatory love (debito atnon) for his wife, he says: 
"Et nota quod magis filiis, inde path, poslea uxori ad amorem 
■ndinamur/^ In ilJuatration of this graduated and decreasing 
■«^k of love» Piclro quotes Virgil, A^/t, il, 665, 666:— 

'* Eripis, ut mcdiis hostcm in penetralibus, utquc 
Ascanium, patrcmque meum, juxtaque Creusam." 
^f' Moofc (Studies in Datttf^ i, pp. 1S2-3) says Dante has united 
"ere two incidents of Virgil's narrative which happened to be 
'^ a certain proximity of context. In .Cn. ii, Sinon denounces 
^^^ fmud and treachery of Ulysses [pellacis tftyssd^ 1. 90) in 
'^pect of the Trojan horse and the Iheft of the Palladium; 
""^d in ihc same context dcploresj as one of the features of hia 
'f^Kncd calamity, that he would never again see his home and 
*"<»«c dear to him (,^n. ii, 137, ij8j : — 
^^m " Kcc mihi jam patnam antiquam spes ulla videndi, 

^^P Sec dulccs Tiatos exaptatumque parcntcm." 

^^ tJtnte transfers *hc sentiment to Ulysses, and makes it refer 

1 ^ hi% ftcLf-icnpobed absence frum home. 
" \ \aperio . . . dtfili vizi umani e del vnlvre : Compare the 
''pcaing words of Homer, (tdyss. 1-3; — 





Readings on the Inferno, Canto XXVT. 

Ma misi me per I' alto mare aperto loo 

Sol con un legno e con quella compagna* 
Picciola, dalla qual non fui deserto. 

The greater horn of the old-world flame murmuring 
began to quiver, even as that (ftame) which the wind 
blows about. Then waving its extreme top to and 
fro, as though it were a tongue that was speakm^, 
it threw out a voice and said : " When E departed 
from Circe, who for more than a year had kept 
me in seclusion over there nearGaeta, (but) before 
jEneas had so named it; neither tenderness for 
my son, nor reverence for my aged father, nor the 
rightful love which should have made Penelope 
glad, were able to overcome in me the ardour I 
had to gain experience of the world, and of the 
vices of mankind, and of their virtue: hut I put 
forth upon the deep open sea, with but one ship, 
and with that small band, by whom I had never 
been deserted. 

We gather by the next three lines thai by the 
deep open sea Ulysses means the Mediterranean, 

And Horace, Ars Po^L 141, 142: — 

'' IHc mihi, Musa, virum captac post tempore Trojae, 
Qui tnnrcs hominum multnrutn viHit ct urbc*,'* 
Sec aUo EccUts, xxxix, 4: "He will travel through fltrangc 
countries ; for he hath tried the good and the evil nmnn^ men." 
*compjigntt =i comfiagnia^ of very common unc among the 
older [taliart wrilera. 

Compare Pity^. xxiii, 127-129: — 

"Tantn dice di fanni sua compw^na [i.f. afford me ki% 

Ch' ID saroli dovc fia Beatrice." 
And Folgore Hi San Gemignano (who flourished in laAo), 
Sottctto rf' Aprik:— 

" Vi do d" Aprile la ecnti( cjimpaKna 

Tutta fiorila (ji bell' crba frcaca ; 

Fantana d' ac^iuu, chr non vi rincfcaca, 

Donne e donzcllc per vottira compftgna." 


^^am^Svi. Rgadin^s oh (he. Inferno, 357 ^^H 

not the Ocean. He could see land on both sides. B 
On the right was the European coast, on the left 1 
stretched the African continent. The indication is ^^B 
to the extreme limit of the habitable globe. ^^H 

^^L L' un lito e 1' altro vidi infin la Spagna^ ^^^| 
^^^^^ Fin nel Morroccn,** e ]' isola de' Sardi, ^^^| 
^^^^^b E r altre che quel marc intorno bagna. 105 V 

^^^^l saw both one and the other coast as far as ^^^| 
L Spain, as far as Morocco, and the island of Sar- ^^^| 
^^ dihia, and the other isles which that sea bathes ^^H 
^B round about. ^^H 

^P The other isles in the Mediterranean would be 1 

Sicily, Pantellaria* Corsica, Majorca, Minorca, Ivica, 1 

Elba, etc. 1 

Ulysses next relates how he and hts crew reached 1 

the Pillars of Hercules* which were Calpe in 1 

1 Europe, and Abyla in Africa, ^^H 

^^^ lo c i LQinpagni era.'t'aiii vccchi c tardi,t ^^^H 
^^H Quanda venimmo a quella focc strctta ^| 

*" Morro(£o : Compare Purg, iv, 137-J39 ; — ^| 
1 **. . . Viennc oniai, vedi ch^ t tocco ^^^^| 
1 Meridian dal sole, e dalla riva ^^^| 
F , Copre U notte gii col pie Morrocco." ^^ 
■^ titrdi : The mariners from old ajje had become sluggish in 
'r»<^ir movements, as Well as broJicn-down by their privations^ 
i| ''^ r fkhipSt and long exposure Ip the elements. Comparison is 
""•fTTniimc^ made to /w/- i*^"' '»'-i J — 

*' Cicntt v" eran con occhi tardi e gravj," etc, 

?**t ] do not think the signiticalioiis. in the two pasKa^e^ are 

™^iniical. The difinified mien of the K^eat personages in 

L««i6o ejhibitft thcivi as men who weigh their words, and only 

•Pt«l( after deep thouRht. Among them, however, is one 

1 vhote hawk-hkc, picrcinK eye, and the lightning rapidity of 

I *hci»e glance demnnstraled the (jrcat commandcrj the bom 

' 1 ^^erof men, quick to sec his opportunity^and to take instant 

\ *^»nt*gc of It. Thia is**Ccaarc armato con kU oechi gri- 


Readings on ilie Inferno. Canto XJ 

Ov' Ercnie sc^nft 11 suoj ripuardi,* 
Acciocchi I" uom piii oltrc non si metta : 

DaMa man destra mi lanciai Sibilia^ no 

Dall' aUra gi^ m' avea laaciata Sclta. • 

I and my companions were old and broken-down, 
when we came to that narrow strait, where Her- 
cules set up hid land>marks, in order that man 
should not venture further. On my right hand I 
left Sevilte, on the other I had already left Ceuta. 

He tells the Poets how he harangued his crew, lo 
induce them to join him in the perilous voyage into 
the vast and unexplored Ocean, a proceeding in those 
days considered so foolhardy, that it was thought to 
be courting sudden death to attempt it. 
' O frati,' + dissi, 'chc per cenlo milia 

* riguardi. Di Siena and Scarta^jini both quote from 
Pcrticari {Prop, vol ii» part 2, p, 38&J, who observes thai in 
Komagna the landmarks that separate fields, as ucl] as the 
sign posts and columns on the high roads, are still called 

fO/rati: Compare Virg, /f^». i, 198-207: — 

*'0 socii I (neque cnim ignarj sumua ante mabrumy 
O pass! graviora! dabit Dcus hiii quctque finem. 
Vos St Scyllaeam rabiem penituaquc sonantea 
Accfistis scopulos: vos et Cyclopia saxa 
Expert!. Hevocate aoimos, macstumque limofem 
Mittite. Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabiL 
Per vorios casus, per tot discrimina rerunit 
Tendimus in Latium, sedes ubi fata quietas 
O&tendunt : iUic fas regna resur^ere Troiac. 
Durate, et vo»mct rebus servale secundia.** 
And Horace, i Carm, vii, 25*^2: — 

"Quo no8 cumquc fcret melior fortuna parente^ 
IbimuK, o socii qomitcsque • 


O Fortes^ pejoraque passi 
Mccum sacpe viri ! nunc vtno pellile curas : 
Cras ingcns iterabimua aequor.*' 
And Lucan, Phars, i, 299^ 300: — 

" Bcllorum o socii, qui mitle pericula Martis 
Mecum (ait^ cxpcrti, dccimo jam vincitis anno." 

?ftm^XVI. Readings on the hiferno. 



^H * Perigli siete giunti ail' otcidente, 

^H A quciita tanto picciola vigilia'* 

^H De' nosCri sens! ch' £ del rimanente, 
^B Nan vogltatc negar i' esperienza, 

^^^ Dirctio al sol^ de] monda scnza. geiite. 

^^r Considerate Ja vostra semenza: 
^^p Fatti non foste a viver come brut). 

Ma per scguir virtute e conosccnia.' i^o 

• O brothers," I said, *■ who through a hundred 
thousand {i.e. countless) dangers have reached the 
West, to this so brief vigil of our senses {i.e. of our 
Uveft) which remains to us seek not to deny ex- 
perience of the unpeopled world beyond the Sun. 
Consider your ori^jin : ye were not created to live 
like brute beasts* but to pursue virtue and know- 
j icdge.' 

^P Benvenuto says that throughout the Ody&uy, as 

^well as in the Thirteenth Book of the Metamorphosis 

^of Ovid, one may read of the persuasiveness of 

^KUlysses, as for instance his success in getting the 

f arms of Achilles adjudged to him, when, after that 

hero s death, ihey were claimed both by himself and 

Ajax. So now his words overcame the reluctance of 

his followers. 

^Li mici compagni fee' io s^ acuti, 
Con qucBta oration picciolai al cammino, 
Che appena poscia gli avrei ritenuti. 
£ v61ta nostra poppa nel matlino, 
m De' remi facemmo all al folic volo, 125 

^ Scmpre acquistanda dal lato mancino. 

With this brief harangue I made n\y companions 
so eager for (he voyage, that after it I scarcely 
could have held them bactL And having turned 

*vi£ili9 r '** Sulla voce vigiiia s' accordano tutti gV interpret!, 
^he sigi^itichi la ianto airta vita, quel ^0 Jt vita che loro 
rcstav^ ancora." (Blanc, Su££io, p. Z62). 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxvi. 



our poop 10 the morning {i,f, heading for the 
West), with our oars we made wings for our in- 
sensate Bi^ht» ever gaining on the left Bide {r.r. 
working more and more to port). 

On this Tommas6o remarks, that as Dante was 
to make Ulysses come in sight of the Mountain of 
Purgatory, which was supposed to be under the 
mendian of Jerusalem, it was necessary' to represent 
him, or any one who was sailing from Gibraltar, as 
keeping constantly to the left, that is, bearing alwaj's 
to Port as much as the Western coasts of Africa 
permitted, in order to regain the distance which ■ 
separates the Pillars of Hercules from Jerusalem, 
And in that way Dante comes to tell us also of the 
south-easterly direction which these coasts must 
take, so that by sailing along them, he would ever 
be going to his left. What an amount of matter 
concentrated into a single line! 

The next three lines show that their course had 
taken them beyond the Equator. 

Tutte le stelle gii dclP altro polo 

Vcdea la nolle,* e il nostro t«,nta basso. 

* Vediii la notte : That is^ If vedca tutie U sUlU dttV aliro poim 
la nvtU, meaning, iielia twite, or di noUe. ll is a perfectly cam- 
mon expression in Italy to say la nolle with the signification of 
"during the night." E.f^. in a Neapolitan popular song: "La 
nottelulli dormono," i-r. ** During the night everj-one is asleep." 
In Lowland Scotch the form is identically the same. Sc< Sir 
Walter Scott, The AtitiqtMry, ch. li : *' 'Punch/ said he flhc 
landlord], 'the dt*il a drap punch ye'se get here the day, 
Mnnkbarns, and that ye may lay your account wi*.'*' So also 
the Scotch say: "It has rained the nicht." Nearly all the 
old CommcntatL-ini understand " iu vedca wr/i^ noUc.' "Non 
quia nox videat, sed ipsi vidcbant in nnctc ilia." (Ilvnvcnuto)u 
"Erono tanto navicati ch'cliiniD la nottc viddono tulle Je stcIJe 
del polo di sotto et di quel ciclo," ft utj. (Anonimo Fiarfmtimo). 



*anlo XXVI. Readings on the In/crno. 



Che non surgeva fuor del marin suolo.* 
I could now see all the stars of the other (r'.t, the 
Aniafcttc) pole at night, and ours (the Arctic 
pole) so loW] that it did not n&e above the Ocean 

He now desciibes how, after five months' naviga- 
tion in the great Ocean, they at length sighted land. 
Cinque volte racceso,t e tante casso f jO 

Lo lume era di sotto dalta tuna, 
Poi ch^ cntrati eravam nell' alto passo, 
Quando n' appan'e una moutagna | bruna ^ 

** Vedfa la nolle = jo vedca di noUe,'" (Camerini), " Gii la notte 
io vedca lutlc le stclle^" etc. (Gabrjiele Rossetti, Lu D. C cQn 
Cvminto AnulUiu*). 

" I saw by night already all the stars 
Within the other pole," 

I tion i 

(William Michael Rossctii, Dant^i ComedyX 
" La notte vedeva in gi^ tutte le slelle deSP altro polo." 
JLubtn's Paruphntse), Danitllo, followed by most of the trans- 
lators, lakes In noiU as the subject of the proposition. And 
Petrarch (Part 1, Stst. vii, st i) has a passage that accords 
with this view ;— 

I" Non ha tanii animaJi il mar fra 1' onde ; 
Nc laasu sopra 'I cerchio della Luna 
Vide mai tantc Htelle alcuna notte." 
'* matin sm>lo : Compare Purg. ilj 13-15: — 
" Ed ecco qual, sul prcsso del tnattino, 
Per li ^ofifii vapor Martc rosscggia 
Giu nel ponenlc sopra il suol marino.'* 
Compare also Nfilton, Lycitfas, I. 167: — 

'Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor." 
•f Cin^uf volU racceso; In Inf. x, 79*81, Dante hears from 
'irinnta dcgli Ubcrti that his banitshment from Florence will 
ikc place within fifty months:— 

'* Ma non cint^uanta volte fia raccesa 

La faccia dcEla donna chc qui rcgge, 
Che tu saprai quanto quell' arte pesa.'* 
nta^nu : This was the Mountain of Purgatory, of whose 
; ithore Dante speaks in Pure, t, 130-132 : — 
" Venimmo poi in sul lito diserto, 

Chc mai non vide navicar sue acque 
Uomo, che di tornar sla poscia ei^pcrto." 
g brwM : It cannot be sufficiently insjiited on that the adjcc> 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto XXVL 

Per la distan£a^ c parvemi alta tanlo* 

Quanto veduta noti n' avcva akuna. 135 

Five times had (he light beneaih the Moon betn 
rekindled and as many quenched, after we had 
entered into the highway of the dcepf when there 
appeared to us a mountain dark in the far dis- 
tance, and it seemed to me so exceedingly high as 
] had never seen any hefore* 

According to Scarta£;rini's calculations, five months 

must be dated from their departure from Cadi^» when 

they put out into the ^real Ocean. The Mountain of 

Purgatory would be about 1950 miles from Cadiz, if 

tivc bruno very seldom means '* brown," but rather **bUck, 
dark or obscure." In Barcttj's Dictionary^ "brown" is not 
even mentioned as one of the significations of bruno. tn the 
VaccAolario 4(Ua Crttsca (Manuzzi) one finds the following 
significations given: ** Di c<tlor ttcrt^f^iantt (blackish)* Lat. 
nif^rU litis: per nero sempUcementf^ Lat. if(£^r, aUr ; ptr adom- 
brttto^ Lat. apacus, obscurtis ; per Unchrosot frsfMro; per mtUifx 
incognito ; per nte&to^ turbato." Again bruno wubst, — abito nrrv. 
See (my) note on f»/, ii, 1, Compare Virg. ,-£«, iii^ 531-513: — 
"Jamque rubcscehat stellLs Aurora fugatis : 

Cum procuL obscuros cotlcE humilcmque vidcmua 

Again ^^n. iti, 205, 206: — 

"Quarto terra die primum se attollere tandem 

Viaa, aperire procul mantes, ac volvere fumum." 

* alta tants), etc. : The stupendous height of the Mountain of 

Purfiator\' is attested in the following passages: Purg^ iti, 14* 

" E diedi 1I viso mjo tnconlro al poj^gio, 
Che ijiverso 11 cici piu alto ai dislaga." 
And iv, 40-4,2: — 

" Lo Bommo er* alto che vincea la vista, 
E la costa superba pitl assail 
Che da mezxo quadrantc a ceotro Uata.'* 
And iv, 85-87:— 

" Ma se a te piace^ volentier saprei 

Quanto avcmo ad andar, ch? il po^o sole 
Piii che salir non posson ^Vt occhi mici.** 
In his descriptions of the Mountain of Pui^tory. Oante in- 
tended, beyond a doubt, to convey the idea of immensity. 


Canto XXVI. Readings on the Iti/eruo. 


reckons that they advanced about 13 miles a day 
150 days on an average, which, according to the 
slow rate of progression at sea in those days, would 
be speaking in conformity with the belief held in 
Dante's time, that the Southern Hemisphere was 
covered with water. 

Ulysses concludes his relation by describing the 
final catastrophe, in which his ship was swallowed up 
in a whirlpool, and he and his companions perished. 
He says their first sight of the land made them glad j 
on which Benvenuto remarks that such is ever the 
I way with manners, after having been a longtime at sea. 
^^H Moi ci allcgrammo,* e tosto torn6 in piantof 

^^H Ch^ delta, nuova terra un turbo nacque, 

^^H E percossc del legno it prima c4nto. 

^^m Tre %'oltc il fc' girar con tutte 1' acquc,! 


Koi ci aiUgrammo : On the joy of manners at the sight of 
land, compare Tasso^ Ger. Lib. iii, st. 4 : — 
'' Cost di naviganti audace stuolo 

Che mova a riccfcar estranio lido, 
E in mar dubbioso c sotto ignolo polo 
Prov! r onde fallaci e il vento infido, 
S' alfin discopre il desiato ^uolo, 
11 saluta da lunge in lieto grido ; 
E I' uno air altro it mostra, e intanto oblia 
La nnia e il ma! della passata via." 
f tontd in pianto : "It was turned into weeping." Di Siena 
ftays this passage is exactly like that in Canto xxiii, 64, where 
Dante says of the leaden mantles of the Hypocrites: — 

*' Di fuor doratc son, &i ch' egli abbaglia." 
He remarks that the verb abbaglia in the one passage, and the 
verb iomo in the other, each agree with some subject understood 
in its ideal totality as a single thing. One must understand the 
entcnce: "ci alicgrammo, c V caserci allegrati, t.e. la nostra 
llegTczfa, iomd in pianto" 
I con tutte t acqut : Compare j^tt. i» i [4-117 : — 
" lp«iu« ante oculos tngens a vertice pontus 
In puppini feril : cxcutilur, pronusquc magister 
Vrtlviiur in caput ; ast illam ter fluctus ibidem 
Tofquct a^cns circum, et rapidus vorat aequore vortex" 

364 Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxvl. 

Alta quarta levar la poppa in suso^ I40 
E la prora ire in gl^^ com' altnii pucquCt'* 
InRn che il mar fu sopra ni:)i richluso." — 

We rejoiced, but soon it {i\e. our joy) was turned 
^^^^^ inio weeping; for from that new land there rose 
^^^^H a whirlwind, and smote upon the fore-part of the 
^^^^m ship. Three times it niade her whirl round wtth 
^^^^H all the waters* the fourth time it made the poop 
^^^^H rise aloft and the prow to sink, as was the Will of 
^^^^H Another {i.c, God), until the sea had closed over 

^B Benvenuto remarks that a high-minded man of 
^H a poble soul such as Ulysses possessed, will neither 
^H spare his Hfe, nor avoid perils and toils to acquire 
^P expenertce, and will prefer a short and glorious life 
^1 to a lon^ one without distinction. 

^H * com' iiHrui P'utcque : The heathen Ut)'sses dares not utter 
^H the name of God, The blasphemer Vanni Fucci dared, and 
^H we saw {Inf. xxv, 4-S) (he retrihu(iar> that befell him. Ulyssci 
^^K uses the cirmmlocutton of speaking of God as AUrui, as Uantc 
^^B dues himself, when addrtissing Franccscaand Paolo {/fi/. v, tk\ 
^H 81) M 
^^P " antme affannate, H 
^V Vcnitc a n.oi parlar. !i' aLtri nol ntcf^a." 1 
^H And again Pur^, 1, 133, he says that Virgil girded him with fl 
^H a rush according to Uato's directions, and he mcottona Calo aa 1 
^H 1 
^H **Quivi mi cinse si com' alirui piacquc.** 1 

^^^^^H END OF ^^1 

Canto XXVII. Readings on the Inferno. 




This Canto is one of the most beautiful in the 
Divina Commcdia^ arid nowhere does Dante exhibit 
more conspicuously his extraordinary power of blend- 
ing into one harmonious narrative subjects so different 
as that of the awful scene before him, and that of 
the pathos with which a fallen great man, Guido da 
Montefeltro, laments the errors of a mis-spent life. 

In no part of his poem is Dante's hatred of Pope 
Boniface VIII expressed with more bitterness than 
in this Canto, the Pope being made primarily respon- 
sible for Guide's relapse into sin and eventual per- 
dition. Finally the veil is supposed to be uplifted, 
and we are allowed a glimpse of the terrible episode 
in which the powers of evil triumph over the powers 
of good, and the soul of Guido is carried away, 
judged, condemned, and consigned to an awful doom. 

Bcnvenuto divides the Canto into three parts. 

In Division I, from ver. i to ver. 30, there is intro- 
duced the shade of Guido da Montefeltro, who ques- 
tions Virgil as to the condition of the Romafijna. 

In Division tl. from ver. 31 to ver. 57, Dante, at 
lh€ request of Virgil, gives Guido the information he 

'366 Readings on the Inferno, Canto xxvit. 

has asked for, then begs him to coniinunicatc his 
own history. 

In Division III, from ver. 58 to ver. 156, Guido 
related that after he had turned to a life of penitence 
and mortification from the crooked ways of his early 
life, he was tempted into returning to them by Boni- 
face VIII, and his soul was thereby lost. 

Division L — We learn by 1. 21 that at the conclu- 
sion of the narrative of Ulysses, Virgil seems to have 
dismissed him, telling him in the Lombard dialect 
that he would not detain him further. The familiar 
accents of the North Italian tongue have attracted 
the attention of another shade, who, coming under 
the arch over which the Poets are leaning, entreats 
them to pause for a while and converse with him. 

I G'\k era dritta in sy la fiamma c quct»|* 

I Per non dir piil, c gi^ da not sen gift 

I Con la licenza del dolcc Poeta; 

I Quando un' attra, chc dictro a. lei vcnia, 

I Kc fece volger gli occhi alia sua ctina,f 

Per un confuso suon che fuor n' u&da. 

Now was the flame pointing straight up Ati^ (was) 
still, through not speaking more, and already was 
it moving away from us with the permission of 
the gentle Poet; when another (flame), that was 

' * dritta in stt /a Jiamtnn e qutta: By dritt^i in su we arc to 

understand that the Rame had ceased to wave about (cmAarsi, 
kxvi, 86X and was directing ils point stfai^hl up in tfae ur. 
By '/»</a is meant that it was no longer giv^ing forth ■ soaod 

mo r mora n lit) {ibid. 85). 

^/tce volger ^U occhi alia sua cima : This is verv shnitftr to 

In/, viii, 3,4:— 

" Gli occhi nostri n' and&r susn alia cima, 
Per due fiammctte chc i' \'cdemmD porrc." 

Canto XXVII. Readings mv the Inferno. 



coming on hneliind it, made us turn our eyes to- 
wards its crest, by reason of a confused sound 
that was issuing from it 

BenvenulQ notices how well Dante illustrates this 
idea of the confused sound within the flame by com- 
paring it to the howls of anguish of the Athenian 
artificer, Perillus, who, to gratify the morbid taste 
of Phalaris, Tyrant of Agrigentum, for new forms of 
torturcp invented a brazen bull, within which con- 
demned criminals might be shut up and roasted by 
lighting a fire underneath. Phalaris, with sardonic 
humour, informed Perillus that he should be the one 
to teach the bull how to bellow, and accordingly 
caused him to be thrust in, and be the first victim 
of his cruel invention. 

The Fraudulent Counsellors are in like manner 
tormented within the flames which their own wicked 
ctiunseU have prepared for them. 

Come il bue Cicillan''^ che mu^gh)5 prima 

• if b»e Ciciiian : Compare Ovid, Ars Amal, i, 653*656 ; — 
" Et Phalaris tauro vioknti membra Perilli 
Torruit ; infelix imbuit auctor opus. 
Justus utfrqiu fuil: nc^que Enim lex acquior u1|h, 
Quam necis artifice^i arte perirc sua," 
UfUrqtu Tiiitir& Xo BusiriR, mentioned I. 651, as well as Phalaris]. 
Tfais passage is quoted in illustration here by I'ivtro di D:iiite. 
Sec Dr. Moore, Studies in Dante, i, p. 215; and pp. 296, 297. 
Dr. Moore isi not certain whether Dante derived the alory of 
Phalaris and Perillus from Ovid, but he says it is just such a 
pajBage as wouJd from its excdient moral be tjkely to appear 
in a FhriUgium or book of extracts, which Dante may posaibly 
have osed n>r the minor works of Ovid. Another tsaurtc may 
be from Oro&tust Adv. Puf^. I, xx, 65,^ 1-4, wherein ihe cruelty of 
F-;!,jn limes IS cnntrastcd with the milder rule which Chria- 
i-.nitv was influencing even Roman emperors to prac:tice. 
i>r. Moore (ibid. p. 396) quotes Valerius MaitimuH, ix, 2, Exl. 
9, A« presenting some Lorre&pondences in detail with the Ian- 


Readings on the In/enio, Canto xx.\ 

Col pianto di colui (e cid fu driUo) 
Che 1' avea temper^^to con sua Ijma.* 
Mugghiava con la voce dell^ afSitto, 

Si che,^ con tutto ch' ei fosse di ramc. 
Pure e' pareva dal dolor trafitto. 

As the Sicilian bull, which bellowed first with the 
moaning of him— and that was right— who had 
fashioned it with his file, bellowed with the voice 

guagc of Dante : " Saevus ctiam ille acnei tauri inventor, quo 
inclusi subditis t^nibua lc>n|;o et abdito cruciatu muf^ttiti frson- 
antem npiviiutn fd^ti co^t-hantur^ ne eiuiatus eorum Mumaiuu w*o 
VQcis exprcssi Phalaridis tyrannj misericordiam implnrafc pAs* 
sent: quam quia calamitosts deesse voLuit, taelcrrimum artis. 
suae opus **irtU(j inclusuB merito auspicattis est" Benvenulo 
da Imola, besides hta great Commentary' on Dante, also wrote 
one an Valerius Maximus. Compare at&o Claudian, In Emirv- 
pium, i, 157-1&6; and Petrarch* Giunta alU Rimt. Padua» 1057, 
vol. ii, p. 672 : — 

" E quel che fece Ii crudo fabbru ignudo 
Gittare il primo doloroso slrido, 
E far nell' arte sua priml vestigi." 
* iemperaU ton sua limtt : Di Siena explains this: " Prcpiirtd 
with his handti, worked at with his tools." He says lima ii 
metaphorically for any one of an artificer's tools. Compirt 
Petrarch, Part I, Son. xvi (in some editions 18): — 
" Ma trovo peso non dfille mie braccia, 
Ni ovra da polir con U mia lima," 
Ibid. Part i, Son, cxtiv (nr 214): — 
"... Amor tutte sue lime 

Usa Ropra 'I mio cor afflilto tanto." 
And Dante Snn. KxxiU (in Oxford DanU, p. 175): — 
" E maledito I" amorosa lima, 

C ha pylito i miei detli c i bei colori," 
And ibid, Caiit. xii, st. 2 (in Oxford Dante, p. 163): — 
"Ahil angnaciosa e dlspictata lima. 
Che sordamentc la mia vita sccmi." 
Cecco d' Ascoli (Acerba, lib. ii^ cap. 12) speaks of Dante as 
the " Fiorentinn con l' antiche lime.'* For Ump<rato cotnpiK 
Petrarch, Son^ xsvif (or 34): — 

" Le braccia alia fucina indamo mo\-e 
L' antlqutssimo fabbro Siciliano 
Cb' a Giove tolte son I' arme di mano 

Temprate a Mongibcllo a tuttc prove." 

Canto XJCVri. Readings on the Inferno. 



of the sufferer with such reality^ that notwith' 
standing it was made of brass, yti did it seem 
transfixed with agony. 

In the brazen bull of Periltus there was no outlet 
for the voicCt so that the cries of the victim made an 
inarticulate sound, and Dante now shows that the 
voice proceeding from the flame was of the same 

Cosi per non aver via n£ forame 

Dal principio del foco^ in suo linguaggio 
Si convertivan le parole grame. 15 

Ma poscia ch' ebber colto lor viaggio 

Sq per la punta, dandole quel guizio 
Che dato avea la lingua in lor passaggio, 
Udimnio dire : — " O Eu, a cui io drizzo 

La Voce, e che parla\i mn Lumbardo, 20 

Dicendo : ' issa ten va, ptili non t' adi^zti : ' f 

* Oat principUt dd /I'co ; I follow the Ox/urd Dttnle m the 
ftding del foco, which is generally considered to have the 
at preponderance of MS. ftuthority. Brunone Bianchj 
DlcrprL'l* the passage thus: " Intendi : foif U paroU grame 
fcioi te parole dcll^ afflittn chiuso neElui (lamma} non travando 
^ prima nclla fiiartima forame o via ondc uscirne, si convcr- 
'■Vino nti iitigaa^t^h dd fuoco, cioi nel mormorio che fa la 
^•nima mo^sa dal vento." Some read nd/oco, but Dai principio 
"*8 precisely the same ?ense with either reading. Buti reads 
"'^/ucco with the same interpretation : " Ci?5(j per wtin aver vid, 
** forame ; ora adatta lasiTnilitudifie, diceitdo che Cost eoitiincii 
**1 principio quella fiamtna a rendcre uno mugghio, perchi non 
*f* inci>r ffltta fa via alia voce, Si convertivan te parole granu ; 
^^.f^i dolorose, Dai prtmipw ; ciofi nel principio, dd futtco ; cio4 
^ quella fiamma, in iuc tinguaggto ; ciofe nel modo del parlare 
^^ h pmprio al fuoco ; cio^ mugghiarc come il buc del ramc, 
Jtiftndo n uacia la vncc umana." 

t'iiu . . . mo . . . adixjo : By far the larger number of 

. read iitra, but of the Commentators ihc majority are for 

*,t^. the OUimo^Anwi. Ficr., Henvenuto, Landino, Vellutello, 

' I>iinicllo. Lana reads iitra without explaining it. Buti 

ItxiKt [■'-'*d 1*1(1, Dr. Moure (Text. Crit. p. 339) observes: 

; A CAM: in which 1 think th« vast majority of the MSS. 



Rfadittgs on the Inftmo. Canto xxvii. 

Perch' io sia giunto forsc alquanto tanlo, 
Non I' incresca restare a parlar mtco: 
Vedi cbc non incresce a me^ ed ardo. 

So (here) the words of woe, from not having at 
their commencement any vent or outlet from (he 
fire, changed themselves into its language. But 
after they had found their way up through the point, 
imparting to it that vibration which the tongue (of 
the imprisoned shade) had imparted to them in 
their passage (through its lipa), we heard Si^y ; 
" thou to whom I direct my voice, and who 
wast but now speaking Lombard, saying r ' Now 
get thee gone, no longer do I urge thee ; ' Though 
I may perchance have come a liiltc late, let it not 
irk thee to stop and talk with mc : Sec. it irks 
not me, and 1 am burning. 

The difficulty of articulation on the part of the 
Fraudulent Counsellors seems to be somewhat analo- 
gous to that of the Suicides (/«/. xiii), who had no 
power of utterance until blood tlowiri}; from a wound 
carried their voices with it. 

The shade now asks Virgil if he is Italian, because,^ 
if so, ihey are fellow-countrymen, he himself bein 

muat certainly be thrown ttverbnardt the copyists having gon 

astray (bs of(tn rlstwhcre) over an unfamilmf word, namely^ 
iysd. Vet this word is twite besides used hy Dante, namclyj 
in in/. KKJii, 7, where in (act its meaning may be said lo 
i;xplained by Dante hiinstif as bcin>c indistmguishabl* 
thai of t/io, * now.' and again in Piirg, Jixii-, 51^. . . . Ben% 
on /»/, sxiii, 7, says : ' Alifjui Tysci diciinl mo,, aliqui ' 
ditunt iwrt.' U seems prnbyblc from the expression 
jAimftanh thai ibc words tnllowiiig, purpnrlini: to be a. qu 
tion from Virgil's Iannuaf;c, cmbrtity Lambardismi. in ihc > 
of issii and a(iizzt\ and thi^ bcuauuc Virgil mah himscU Lamtbmrdo 
as dc^ribcd in In/, i, 63." Issa ta u^ualty taken to be for j£ 
hvrd : nw tor motiv ; Hlanc thinks that iiWirir? may pcrhaj 
derived from the German unhftzert, "to excite a dog 10 
anri hcncc+ to ur^c on any nnc to speak. We find mo 
times used tn this Canto, namely, I. 20 ; L 25 ; and 1. 109. 

^anlo xxvii. Readings on the Inferno. 


from the Romagna, as to the dissensions in which he 
asks for news. 

Se tu pur mo in questo mondo ctcco * 
Caduto sei di quclla dolce terra 
Latina t ond' to mia colpa tutta reco, 

Dimmi sc i RomagnoJi han pace o guerra ; 
Ch' io fui de' monti |^ intra Urbino | 
E il g^iogft di che 'I Tevet si disserra." — 



* pur mo in qiitsfo mofuio cieco : Compare Inf. x, 41, where 
Uante says lo Virgil: — 

'* E ly m* hai non pur mo & ciA disposto." 
And ibid- U 58, Cavalcante dtri Cavalcanti says to Dante : — 
" . . - Se per questo cieco 

Carccrc vai per alte^/a d' ingegno/' etc- 
fn Pit^g- xv'i, 6f, 65, Marco Lombarda says to Dante v — 

" Frale, 
Lri mando k ciecOj e tu vien btn da lui/' 
nd Petrarch, Part i. Son. cxc. (in some editions 210); — 
•' Ch' fi sola un So!, non pur agli occhj miei, 
Ma al moiiflo cjcco, uhe vertij non cura.'* 
uidn wa.s probably not aware that Virgil had a companion. 
was Virgil's voice that he heard S[>cakinK Lombard. In 
his use of the word cuco may allude to his inability ta see, 
Cavalcante uses the wnro in Canto s, and he could sec* 
^doU4 Urra Liittnti : Ucnvcnulo Lhinks Romasna is meant 
here, but thai view is disproved by the words otnl' io mia colpa 
tutta rtcii-, " from whith I brinj; titl my guilt/' Guido is about 
to relAte \}\. 85: ti) that the chief, if not the sole cause of his 
rdilion, was the sin into which he fell by giving fraudulent 
:nun.scl to th«: Pope about Pale^trina near Rome. On the 
her hand ifrni Lutimi cannot be Latium, because Guido 
_;ht he was speaking Ut a Lombard, and if he, a Romag- 
nolct I'tainis Virgil, who wa^ a Lrrmbard, as a fcltow-country- 
man, he must by terra l^iifitut mean Italy- Blanc iSaggiOi, 
p. zhy) points r»ut that Dante never once uses Ibf term liatiani. 
Camcrini think* that he calls all Italians south of the Fo, 
L*tiMi ; «nd all to the north of it, Lombardi, and to that view 
I irKrline. 

I Jt' itwnti l*i intrii I'rbino, etc. : The hillcountr^' alluded to 
H MofiteTcltro, which in situated between L'rbmo and Monte 
I in the Aijcnnincs at the foot of which the 1 ibcr takes 
llic district of that name belonged in Dante's time to 


AA 2 


Readings on the Infcmo. Canto xxvii. 

If thou art but now fallen into this blind world 
from that sweet Latin {i.e. Italian) Und. from which 
I bring all my guilty tell me if the Roitiagnoles 
have peace or war ; for I was from that mountain 
region over there between Urbino and the chain 
from which the Tiber is unlocked {i.e. takes its^ 

The speaker is the great Ghlbelline leader. Count 
Guido da Montefeltro, one of the most prominent 
figures in the highly complicated history of the 
Italian States in the time of Dante. The exact date 
of his birth is not known, for although Arrivabene 
(Secolo di Dank, Udine» 1827) gives it as 1250^ the 
fact that Guido (1. 79 of this Canto) describes himself I 
as an old man when Boniface VIH was besieging 
Palestrina, which siege, according to G. V'iljam (Hb. 
viii, cap. 23) took place in 1298, would certainly seem 
to prove that he was bom considerably before 1250, 
According to Villani (lib. vii, cap. 44), Guido was in 
1274 made captain of the Lambertazzi, or Ghibel* 
lines of Bologna. In 1282, at or near Forlt, he 
inflicted a crushing defeat upon the French com- 



the Dukes of Urbino. Benvenuto in his comment on Pufg. v, 
88j spcttks thus of Mrtnwfeltro: " Debee scire quod Mons Fei*- 
trua est quaedam contrata [rfgkm] in Romandiola, continent in 
se itrultas terras, sicutcivitatcm SancM Leoni^^ . . , Samahnuin 
[Sum Mitritio], et alia castella; ex qua contrala habuerunt oltm 
origtnem comitcs famoai, vocati usque in hodiernam diem 
comites de MoTiterchrn, de qudrum primordio non hjibclur 
memorja ; sed de damn ista multi luerunt viri urcnuissimi. 
quorum unum anliquissimum rcperio qucmdam dominum Mon- 
tefcltranum, qui genuit ISoncontem, et cjc lioncontc natus est 
MontefeltranuB miles. Ex MontefcUrano natus est famojiissi- 
mu8 comes Guido . . « ex isto Guidnnc nalu!» c&l Honcontry." 
[/V.B.— It is this second Buonconlc the cpt^iodc of whotc tlcalh 
IS HO beautifully described in Pufg. v]. 

Canto xxvTi, Readings on the Inferno, 


mandcft Jean de Appia, or Jean de Ipa, whom Mura- 
tori calls Johannes de Appia, and Villani, Gianni de 
Pd. and took possession of the whoie of the Komagna 
in opposition to Pope Martin IV. For this he was 
excommunicated t but about 1286 he made his recon- 
ciliation to the then Pope, Hononus IV, who banislied 
him to Asti in Piedmont; but in 1288, having been 
elected their general by the Pisan Ghibellines, not- 
withstanding the papal ban, he left Piedmont and 
came to Pisa, whereupon the Pope, after excommuni- 
cating him and hi^ family, pronounced an interdict 
against Pisa, Guido then defended that city against 
the Guelphs^ who, Muratori says, would have gained 
possession of it, *' had it not been that the excellence 
of the Count delivered it from them," He restored 
'order and good government in the city, and regained 
possession of the castles, for the alleged betrayal of 
which Count Ugolino was put to so cruel a death. 
He captured Urbino in 1292, and in 1294 successfully 
defended it against Malatesta, Podesti of Siena. 
But being in the same year expelled from Pisa, he 
again reconciled hjmself with the Church, and in 
1296 entered the Franciscan Order. He died in 
1298, and, according to some, was buried at Assisi. 
Id ConiK iv, 28, 11, 61. 62, Dante speaks of him as 
"tl nobilissimo nostro Latino Guido Montefeltrano." " 

♦ B*rloh [Storia JeUa LcUcr&iura tlatiana. Vol. vi, part ii, pp. 
90-93) *sks whether the account of Guido da Montcfcltro given 
by Uantc in this CAntn ik a true story, nr a mere fAble, paint- 
ing a,M, ht docs in such black colours the same man whom he 
has 10 extolled in the Coitvittt. Kartnii is inclined to agree 
with some who think that Dante may have spokr'n in Guide's 
,-'<-'-c bcfori: he became acquainted with trie infamy of his 
v.Ljtfut counsel to the Pope, But he certainly thinks Dante 

Readings on the Inferno, Canto xxvi!. 

Division IL — In the last Canto, when Dante had 
expressed a wish that he and Virgil shouldl converse 
with the double-horned fiame enclosing Ulysses and 
Diomede, Virgil had given an assent* conditional on 
being himself the spokesman. He now releases 
Dante from this imposed silence, and urges him to 
answer the shade of Guido da Montefeltro. Danle 
has evidently taken for granted that he is to be the 
speaker, and is quite ready. He gives a terrible 
picture of the dissensions in the various great cities 
of the Roma^na, and of the sufferings that all are 
undergoing under their respective tyrants. 

lo era ingiuiA aticora attento e chino, 

Quando il raio Duca mi lent& dl cosla,* 
Diccndo : — "Farla lu, quest) ^ Lalino," — 

Ed io ch' avca giS pronta la rispusta, 

Sen2a indugio a parlare incominciai : 35 


Telated this story In perfect good faitli, and evidently believed 
in its accuracy. There do not »ccm to be anv datc» to weaken 
it. Therefore let us rather suppose that Dante was not sorry 
to bring to light one of the dark deeds that would be likely to 
blacken the memor}' of his tricmy Boniface. Let us add more- 
over that he was not sorry to couple with the sins of thii 
enemy those of hiiti of Montefeltro, who was conslantiv vacil- 
lating between the Papal Court and the Empire^ who while 
head of the GhibelHne party, had become reconciled to the 
Church, only to turn against it again in wSy, when he took 
the command of the Pisans against the Pisans and ihe Loc- 
chese. No one can read thb Canto^ Bartoli reinarks, without 
perceiving that there is wrath in Daniels soul against the man 
whose deeds were less of (he lion than of the fox, 

*Unto iti lostit : That means, "touched mc lightly with hi* 
elbow to attract my attention." 

Compare Ii\/. xii, 67 : — 

" Poi mi tcnto c disae : ' Quegli h Nesao,*" etc. 
And Horace, 2 Sat. v, 42, 43 :^ 

" Nonnc vides {aliquis cubilo stantem propc langeJis. 
Inquiet) ut patient,, ut amicis aptus, ut accr ? " 

^ Canto xxviL Readings on the Inferno. 375 1 

— "0 anima, the se' laggiCl nascosta,* ^^^| 

Romagna tua non d, e non fu mai ^^^| 

Senza gucrra ne' cor de' suoi tiranni ; t ^^H 

Ma 'n pale«e | nessuna or vi lasciai.^ - ^^^| 

I was 3tt!l listening attentively and bent down ^^H 
(over the bridge), when my Leader touched me on ^^^| 
1 the side, saying: *' Speak thou, this is an Italian." ^^^| 
^K And I who had my answer already prepared, with- ^^^| 
^1 out delay began tQ speak; ^'0 spirit, that art ^^| 
^H hidden there below, thy Romagna is not, nor ever V 
^B was, without war in the hearts of her tyrants, but ^^H 
^1 open <war) I recently left there none. ^^H 

Scartazzini remarks that in every city in the 
Homagma at that time there were at least two 
parties, namely, the Lambertaz^i and the Geremei 

*emima * . , iaggii^ nascosta: Guida was a man of such 
reputation for counsel, that in 1. 78 he says of his wtsdom and 
talents : — 

" Ch* al fine dclla terra il suono uacic." 
His doom now is to be hidden away from view in one of the 
lowest parts of Hell, in toul ifinorance of the machinations 
ever going on in his native land, and of which, at one timCt he 
held the threads at his fingers* ends. 

f tiritHHi : The word iiranrw need not necessarily betaken 
In a bad sense, for ViiUni speaks of Ca&lruccio as a tyrant, 
and yet praises him. Tommas^o says thai al the battle of" 
Campaldinn, Dante fought by the side of Bernardino da 
Polenta, a Guelph, and from him he may have heard the 
details^ of the aad story of his sister Francesca, 

Jan pattic : Th« in is redundant. The VocahotAfio dettdi 
Cruita gives : " Atostrare in palac^ \a stesao che Paltsare, Afditt- 
/iUar£" Compare Petrarch, Part i. Son, xciii (or 1 1 ip — 
^^ *' Ma '1 soverchio piacer che s' attravcrsa ^h 
^H Alia mia lingua, qua! dentro clla siede, ^^^H 
^K Dt mostraria in pale^e ardir non ave." ^^^| 
^V { fu^suna or vi iasciat : See both the Voc, <Ulla Crwtro, and H 
^Hthe Gran DizionaHo, whn state that there is no doubt that Ora H 
^^Kab ftn adverb of time can be used to cTipress the past, the H 
^" preneni, or the future. Here it is evidently an adverb of past 1 
[ time-, and has the force ni UsUf '^recently, UtcLy." H 


Readings on lite Infcnio. Canto XXVM, 

in Bologna; the Ordelaffi and the Calboli at Forll; 
the Alidosi and the NordoU at Imola ; the Zambrasi 
and the Manfredi at Faen^a ; the Parcitati and the 
Malatesta at Rimini, etc. Henvenuto remarks that 
Guido da Montefeltro must have wondered indeed at 
Dante's statement that there was no open war 
actually going on just ihen^ for from the time that 
Niccolo degli Orsini ascended the Papal Throne and 
obtained from the Emperor Rudolph the cession to 
him of the Romagna, the several States and cities of 
that province became the prey of a number of petty 
local tyrants. The utter destruction of that noble 
territory was due to four causes. First, the avarice 
and corruption of the Pastors of the Church, who 
took different sides in the faction hghts, according as 
it suited their interest. Secondly, the infamous 
character of the tyrants continually at warfare among 
themselves, and oppressin;? thetr subjects "Aith the 
most cruel extortions. ThirdlVi the wonderful fer- 
tility of the whole region, which was an endless 
attraction to barbarians and foreigners. Fourthly, 
the envy in the hearts of the whole population, to 
which Dante alludes in Parg, xiv, gg, where, not- 
withstanding that he bestows some praise upon the 
Romagnole race, he deplores their deterioration in 
these words: '* O Romagnoli tornati in bastardl** 

Ravenna is the first of the cities that Dante 

Ravtrina sta come slata ^ moHi anni : ' 


*moUi umii : 'l"hc Lords of Polenla-^whu look their Itlle 
from a small castle o( that name above Urcttinoro — obtained 
the sovereignty of Ravenna in T270, and held it till 1441. 

Canto XXVII. Hetiditfi^s on the Inferno^ 



L' aquila ♦ da Polenta la si cova,+ 
Si cbc Cervia ricopre co' suoi vanni 

Ravenna remains as she has remained for many 
years: the eagle of Polenta is brooding over her 
in such wise thai He spreads his pinions over 

The family of Da Polenta had so enlarged their 
dominions since they obtained the lordship of Ra- 
venna, that their territory now took in Cervia, a 
town twelve miles off (Benvenuto says fifteen) on 
the shore of the Adriatic. 

Dante has evidently intended to draw a marked 
distinction in Ih 40-48, in describing the arms of the 
reigning princes of Ravenna^ Forli, and Rtmini. 
The Polenta eagle covers Ravenna and Cervia, 
under its feathers, as a bird does its own brood, 
implying that the rule of the Da Polenta was a 
paternal and friendly government ; whereas by the 
rapacious claws of the Ordelaffi Hon at Forli, and by 
the pitiless fangs of the Malatesta mastiff at Rimini, 
a detestable tyranny is as plainly indicated. 

Tommaseo remarks that this Canto is essentially 
one of real or seeming contradictions. After having 

* V aqwihi : The shield of the Da Polenta displayed an eagle. 
HaK Arjgtnt on a field Ature, and hali Guks on a field Or. 

t/fl !» cvva : The Oxford text reads M si cava ^ "siSs brood- 
iiiK on that spot "; but 1 prefer the reading ia si cova which is 
equivalent to se la tova. The reflective covarsi is used as a 
tran*itivc verb ; and the real force of the sentence is that the 
Eagle of Da Polenta gathers it (Ravenna) under his win^s 
»jth the idea of keeping it fof his own. "Guldoda Polenta 
. . . chc ha r aquila per arme, )a tienc soggetta,. e la si cova 
(come tit t^Bllina I uova), in maniera chc ha pure sotto di sit la 
non disUnte Citti di Cer\ia ... e la ricuopre con Ic sue ali." 


Readings on Ua Inferno. Cajito xxvn. 


stated that the hearts of the tyrants of Romagna are 
ever engaged in fratricidal wars, Dante names the 
Polentani. When he wrote his poera, he had no ■ 
ties of friendship with Guido da Polenta [I am not 
responsible for Tommas^o's view on this matter] ; 
nor was Dante the man to pardon him his tendency 
to be both vacillating and at the same time covetous; 
nor for having driven out hi casa Traversara e gli 
Auastagi, two families extolled by Dante in Purg. 
xiv. Besides this, the family lost and regained their 
sovereignty over Ravenna on several occasions, 
which does not seem quite to tally with Ravenna 
sta come sfuta e molti aimi^ I* aquila da PoUnUt la si 
cava. Bartoli thinks that the glorious fifth Canto of 
the Inferno with its touching, and yet ruthlessly un* 
compromising, account of Francesca, aunt to Guido 
da Polenta^ was most certainly written before Dante 
went to Ravenna and became the guest of that 

Dante next speaks of Foili, the ancient Forum 
Livii. then under the dominion of Sinibatdo degli 
OrdelafR, whose escutcheon displayed a lion Vert 
on a field Or. Tradition relates that in ihe early 
days of Dante's exile, he was employed as secretar}* 
to Scarpetta degli Ordelaffi, who ruled Forii from 

La terra* chc fc' giib la lunga prova,t 

*lcrr4i: One of the meanings of (r#Trt (see Gran Oixitmsrap; 
ViK. ddla Criiica , V. Fanfani Voad'oUtrw) b "citU^ cat9d 
murato.** Dr. Moore writCH to me thai "trrrw seems to hive 
just this sense in -Em. vi, 777, viz, ' fortified town*,*" It wnw a 
word in very common u&c in that senst in the lime of Dante, 
and for long after. Sir Jamc5 Lacaita (when I was wrttinc 

Canto xxvn. Readings on the Inferno. 


E de' Francescht sangujnoso mucchio,} 

Sotto Ic branched verdi 31 ritrova. 45 

The city which not long since endured the pro- 
tracted struggle (i.e. siege), and of the Frenchmen 
made a gory pile, *tiU finds itself under the Green 

this nole for the first edition) told me to add that in the south 
of Italy t^ra is the common word used by fellow-citizens in 
speaking of their cityf or for the principal town in their district 
icafnf lupgo). One will say to another A tidianio alia Urra^ mean- 
ing. ^' let us go to the city," Till very recently, in the cases of 
Olranto and Bari^ Urra was in use to denote Previnciuj and 
survives to this day in that of *' Terra di Lavora" We find in 
Boccaccio, **Unft terra chiamata Udine," 1 dn not repeat all 
the illustrations I gave m the fir^t edition, as ierra^ meaning 
'^city," la too common a mediarval term to need illustration. 
The error of rendering Urut *' land " is entirely due In English 
translatora, who are by far the greatest culprits, tine of them 
actually translates the firat two lines of IhJ. x, '" By a secret 
path tjctwcen tkt xi'oJi of the land and the torments ! ! Note 
altov that the regular word for a village in Italy is f^aae, which 
more usually means "a country," In a very mterestinK work, 
Delta Fiff'rica dii Mt'mio,d'\ Mcsser Francesco Alwnno di Fcr- 
fafa — Venice, 1588, folio (the valuable gift to me of my friend 
Dr. Paget Toynbec), under the head of Citta and its synonyms, 
p. jai, there is a very full paragraph on TtTn* "per la citti," 
with numerous illustrations from the best writtTH, 

f La Urra che fe' gia fa lutiga pnrvti t This means, of course, 
the city of ForlL Bv !a ttin^a prova, Blanc {I'm. DaHt]t says 
we are to understand ''la battaglia, guerra," as also in Inf. 

ri, 12a:-* 
" Non cbigotlir, ch' io vincer6 la prova." 
I sanguiHoio ntiuchio : Virgil {.^n, %, 507*509) says of rallas, 
whom the first day's combat brought glory and death ; — 
"'^O dolor atque decus magnum rcditurc parentil 
Haec le prima dies bcllo dedit, haec eadcm aufcrt :— 
Cum tamcn ingcntcs Kutulorum linquis acen'os." 
Se« also TasBo, Ger. Lib. xtx, st. 30 : — 
^^m ^^Ogni cosa di stra;^c era giii pjenn ; 

^^P Vcdeansi in mucchi c in monti I corpi avvoiti ; 

1^"^ LA i fcriti sui morti, e qui giacicno 

Sotto morti imiepoiti cgri scpolti.^ 
^bwtmcke are Che fore-paws of a wild beast, armed with 
cl&wmf and the ttthms oi a bird of prey. 


Readings on iht Inferno. Canto xxvn. 

Benvenuto's account is as follows: "Rightly to 
understand the above passage, it must be known 
that in 1282 Pope Martin [IV] of Tours, in the 
Kingdom of France, sent into Romagna a certain 
lord named Jean de Apia, or de Ipa, a most active 
and intelligent commander, to wrest that province 
from the clutches of Count Guido da Montefeltro, % 
brave and powerful leader, who was at that time on 
the Gbibelline side. In all France there was not a 
more valiant knight than Jean de Apia, but he was 
no match for the Romagnoles in cunning. On his 
first entennfj the province with an immense army of 
French and Italian troops* he took Faenza, and from 
there began to wage a fierce war against Forli, of 
which he hoped to gain possession by treachery, as 
he could not do so by regular siege. The defence 
was directed by Count Guido, a most astute strate- 
gist, who perfectly understood the rashness of the 
French. On the Kalends of May, Jean de Apia 
reached Forli with his army very early in the morn- 
ing, thinking to capture it by a couple-main before 
break of day ; and in obedience to the orders of 
Count Guido, he was at once admitted through one 
of the gates. Jean^ thereupon, marched in with a 
part of his troops, leaving the rest outside, under 
orders to come to the rescue of their comrades, 
should they require support ; and in case of any mis* 
chance^ all were to rally under the shade of a huge 
oak* that stood in a certain field. Having given 

* HHdtr the ikatU of the huge oak ; It is not without sad regrrt 
that t»ne reads in this passngc of the by^nne ^Tories of woodtaiHl i 

scenery in Italy. Such a thing as a "hugt oak" ts now almoaC J 


Canto XXVI t- Readings on the Inferno. 


these orders. Count Jean, with his Frenchmen, made 
hts way unopposed through the streets of the town. 
Meanwhile Count Guido, who had marched quietly 
out of the city with his whole force, fell furiously 
upon the reserve French division under the oak, and 
easily routed and destroyed them, Jean, under the 
delusion that he was master of Forh", had given 
the city over to pillage, and his soldiers were 
all dispersed through the houses for that object. 
Count Guido now suddenly entered the town with 
part of his troops, leaving his infantry, however, 
formed up under the oak, so as to present the ap- 
pearance of the French division that had stood there 
shortly before. Now when Count Jean saw Guide's 
troops in the town, of which he had already made 
himself the master, he was thunderstruck. Then 
every Frenchman who could get a horse escaped out 

unknown. Seldom, at the present day, does the eye rest upon a 
fufefti tree worthy of the name. The late Sir James Lacaita 
once remarked to me, during a visit to the mut;ni6ccnt naks 
in Bai;at'& Park in Staffordshire, that there were as fine ones 
utill to be found in the remote parts of the south of Italy; and 
on Sir J amen Lacaila's own estate, near Taranto, he used often 
to show me numbers of stupendous olive trees, reckoned to be 
two thimnand years oid, of a ai^e, beside which those one 
knows on the Rtvura of Nice arc as small bushes. We know 
too that Horace once nearly met his death from the fall of a 
lATge and Ancient tree. (See Hor. 2 Carm. iciii \ and xvii, 27 ; 
5 Carm. iv, 27; and viii, 7^ 8). In z Carm. ix, 7, Horace 
I \rs to thc"Qucrccta Gargani," but Mr. Maclcane in his 
■n of Horace (London, 1881, Svo) asserts that these oak 
'.^ nf} Uini;cr exi:^! m the Gargano. Sir James Lacaita told 
' i^t he questioned the complete accuracy of this assertion 
c)t .Ur. Maclcane, as in some of the interior valleys of the 
Gargaau the oak foresta had not entirely disappeared^ The 
luBOtu PinHA of Kavenna was nothing more than pine woods, 
hBMitifuJ a» they were, when I saw them in i369. 


Readings on the Infemc. Canto xxvn. 

of the city, and galloped off to the tryst ing-place 
under the oak; but instead of finding safety there 
with comrades, they fell into the hands of the 
enemy, who put ihem all to the sword, nor was any 
quarter jjiven to the French who remained in the 
city. Among those who fell in this way was Taddeo 
da Montefeltro. a kinsman of Guido's, who had quar- 
relled with him about their inheritance, and Tebal- 
deilo, who betrayed Faenza to the French whilst the 

rrison were asleep. Jean de Apia, with a small 
'l"emnant of his followers, escaped to Faenza." Pope 
Martin IV seems to have recaptured Forii in the 
following year ; but the astute Gutdo da Montefeltro 
had made his escape in time. '* And thus it will be 
manifest that the ingenuity of the Count triumphed 
over the forces of the most distinguished military 
commander, although he himself was eventually 
mastered by the power of the Church." Practically 
the same account of the above events is given by G. 
Villani (vji, cap. 80-8^) ; in Ihe Annak^a FnroUvt'ensa^ 
[ap, Muratori, Rcrum It. Script, Vol. xxii) ; and in 
the AtJ&ttimo Fhrtntino. Villani adds this fact, 
namely, that while the French men-at-arms were 
enfjaged in pillage the townspeople of Forli* by 
order of Count Guido, removed the saddles and 
bridles from their horses, so as to increase their 
confusion when they attempted to escape. 

Benvcnuto notices thai Dante makes no mention 
of Forlimpopoli {Forumpopilhtm) ^ which was also 
under the rule of the Ordelaffi ; but he says thai it 
was only a small city, already in its decline, and 
soon after the time of Dante the Pope's legate nearly 

Canto xxviL Readings on the Inferno. 


razed it to the ground, and transferred the inhabi- 
tants to Brettinoro. 

Dante now passes on to name the city of Rimini, 
which, under the ferocious tyranny of the two Mala- 
tesla. father and son, is groaning under untold woes. 
The elder Malatesta was the father of Gianciotto 
the husband, and of Paolo the lover, of the hapless 
Francesca. The Malatesta are called the two Mas- 
tiffs» partly from their cruel instincts, and partly, 
perhaps, because there may have been a dog dis- 
played upon their coat of arms. The son was called 
Malatestino, and tu this was added the subriquet 
dctV occhiv [Malatestino delT occhio], because he had 
only one eye. 

II Mastin vecchio, e il niiovo da Vcrrucchio,* 
Che fecer di Montagnat i) mal soverno, | 

* Mastin . , , da Vtrrmchio : MaUtcsta da Verrucchio, so 
called from a castle of that name which had been presented to 
ihe Malatesta for their services In the city of Rimini, from 
which the cflKtk wa*i dislarH about ten mik-K. Hut Bctiveniit& 
drntrs the accuracy ut this, and siiys that the Fumitv Took ita 
origini from a certain c'astle at Montefeltro named Fannabjii 
[Ptntui Biliorum). liul Dante would call (hem by the title by 
which they were mnre popularly known, namely, the Counts 
Malatesta of Vcrrucchta Dr. Moore» who visited the spot in 
April. I90J, writes to me: "Verrucchio is an esttrcmcly pic- 
ii]f«.squc town on a sleep hill on the way from Kimini to San 

i Montaf:;na : Mcsscr Monla^rpa de' Parcitati was a nnbic 
Lnicht, and the head of the Ghibclline pany in Kimini, The 
i'luy Fittrfittino relates that Messer Malatesta the elder 
'■•!.- itn vr<c^hio), ancl Mcsser Malatestino the ymingcr {il WMtnii), 
having taken prisoner a young man of Homajina of the name 
nf MontA);n«, while accusing him and examining him on ti 
Lapiial charge, scut him backwards and forwards from nnc to 
ihe other 'as did Hernri and Pilate in old time with our I^^ord), 
nfter which they had him put to a cruel dt'ath. 

l/eur , . . mat forr f ho ; The Voc, deUa Cnisfit interprets. 

384 Readings on iht Inferno, Canto xxvii. 

IJl dove soglion, * fan de' dcnti succhio. t 

The old Mastiff of Verrucchio, and the young one, 
who wrought the ill-usage on Monta^na. there 

where they have been wont (i.c, at Riminj), make 
an auger of their teeth. 

Bartoli {op. cU. Vol. vi, part ii, p. 21 ei scq,) says 

that the above lines are uttered with sin^lar malice, 
emphasising Dante's hatred for the Guelph Mala- 
te$tas. In Inf, xxviii, 81, he calls Malatentino un 
iiranno fillo^ and says that his horrible crime in 
murdering the two best men in Fano far exceeds 
any that was ever perpetrated in the whole Mediter- 

this; " Maltrattarofio, conciarono male." Compare fnrf. v, 
loH, where the Angel of Hell, exasperated at not beinj; allowed 
to earn' off the soul of Huonconte, son o( Guide da Montc- 
fcltro^ cxdaims that he wiH \<^ent hi!< rage upon the dead body. 

" Ma io far6 dell' altro altro fioverno." 
Compare also Petrarght Trionfo deiUf Fama, ij, Tex. ^j •— 
" E chi de' nostri duci, chc 'n duro astro 

PassAr I'Eufrate, fece 'i mal uovcrno, 
All' llaliche doglie fiero impiastro ?" 
This allusion is toCrahsus, who met with defeat and dishonour- 
able treatment after death, at the hands of the Parihians. Com- 
pare also ffl/. xxviiij 126; "che si governa [who so ordainsy* 
and set my noJe on the various meanings 01 ginvrnart. 

* La ikwt iogUott : Caaini explains^: "LA dove »olcvano t^k 
pur r addjctro,^' and remarUs that the persons of the prevent 
tenat of the verb idUrr were often used by (he early Italian 
writers with the Kcnse of the imperfect. Compare Par. xii, 
123: 'Mo mi son quel che sogHo," which Casini tnterprets: 
"Io sono qua! solcvann esscre i fr;«nccscani primitnL" Sec 
illustrated passages on this in RetxJin^i, yn the ParuJisOy voL i, 
pp. 4t7. V^- 

f siuchio or sucehulh : A kind of auger used in shipbuilding 
and other coniitructionsol wood. Dr Siena sayslhata^ it cru&hea 
and draws out the substance of the wood in which tt is used; 
BO the tyrants^ ol Kimini arc here represented as never dhvinjE; 
their teeth into any carcase wjthout currving awHy the piece 
out of the flesh. The Malalcsta, according Io Panic, preyed 
upon the \'cr}' vitals of their unhappy aubjccts. 


Canto xxvn. Readings on ilve Inferno. 

ranean sea, either by Saracen or by Greek pirates 
{tbid. 76-90). In hif. V, 107, Francesca says of her 
husband Gianciotto: Caina atUndc chi in vita ci&pcfise, 
a tine (hat has been said to come hissing out as 
though a serpent had suddenly risen in the grass 
darting out its forked tongue, One can well imagine 
that it was this hatred for the Malatesta which in- 
spired Dante with the episode of Francesca. One 
brother, Paolo, is in Hell» and weeps without utter- 
ing a word. Another, Gianciotto, is destined for 
Caina, and the third, Malatestino, is branded with 
infamy. Dante's abhorrence for the husband of 
Francesca could well intensify his pity for the wife. 
This ferocious and deformed Guelpht son of that 
Malatesta who had formerly been Charles of Anjou's 
vicar in Florence, who murders a woman in so 
brutal a manner {i7 modo tincor m offends. Inf. v, 
102), might well in a mind like that of Dante arouse 
a desire to place this man's victim on a throne of 
glory, and take the same opportunity to plunge him 
faimself down among the traitors to kindred in Cocy- 
tua, his brows horned by the dishonour of his wife's 

Dante now mentions two more cities of Romagna, 
namely, Taenia, situated in a plain watered by the 
river Lamone, and Imola, on the bank of the river 
Santerno, both under the lordship of Maghinardo (or 
Mainardo) de' Fagani da Susinana, whose arms were 
a lion Azurt upon a field Ardent, and of whom both 
the Com^ttft di Anommv (Florence, 1848), and the 
Ckiosc Simnme in t!ie Cudii"^ Ca^sincH', say that he 
always conducted himself in Tuscany as r Guelph, 




Readings tm the Inferno. Canto xxvil. 

and in Romagna as a Ghibelline, and is therefore 
accused of chan^ng sides with every chanj^e of season. 

Le cilt4 di Laraone e di Santcrno 

Conduce il Iconcel dat nldo bianco, 50 

Clie muta parte dalla state al verno;* 

The cities of Lamone and Santemo the young 
lion on the while lair (^7. nest) governs, who 
changes sides from the summer to the winter. 

According to Renvenuto, Maghinardo was a man 
of such probity and good fortune, that from a simple 
castellan he became lord over Forli, Faenza and 
Imola. He took possession of Faen2a in 1290. 
Forli in izgi, and Imolaf in 1296. He was of the 

* daita state fil verno : Di Siena remarlfs that there arc but 
three months to run fri>m the last day of summt^r to the first 
day of winter. Lana and Buti understand the passaj^e quite 
differently, thinking rfiiWff sfd/i to mean Tuscany, which is to 
the south, and ai vcmo to mean Komagna, to the north of it. 

+ Bcnvenuto has much to aay about his own city of Imola, 
called in ancient times Forum Corntlii, and by that name it 
was recorded amon^ the famous cities in the cnsmngraphy 
which Augustus ordered to be made of the whoic world, a& we 
learn from Albertus Magnus in his book Ik Natura Loci. It is 
said to have acquired this name from having been founded by 
a member of the illustrious Cortftiin /^ciis, from whom defended 
the Scipios. On the conversion of ihc city to Chnstianity il 
chanticd its name to Imnla (ah tmoittitdo)^ because at the cere- 
monial aen.'ices they rnadc use of ihc words *' ImvU Deo ukH- 
/icii4m hitdis," and Renvcnulo adds: "This m therefore from 
imoio, an excellent word, which wc use frequently in pira\injl 
to God, especially on the pontifical days, when the foHowin£ 
words are recited: -cmim /usr/iii tiastrum irN^Iattts at CHrut%s. 
But ihougJi it be not a larf;e city, Bcnvenuto is ptf uJ to think 
that Imola producea j;^cat and noble minds, but he remarks 
that for fear he himself, in a matter of pergonal tntercht, might 
be thouKhl an untrustworthy witness, he ask& W\f, readers to 
hear what the Sfttniihr Lcgenduritm nays on the subjecC, 
namely, " The C'tfrndiensts are of greiil Eiaf;acity, eloquent in 
speech, unmatched in armii, of an undaunted courage, afld 
mifihly in the Catholic Faith." 



Canto XXVII. Readings on Ike Inferno. 




ancient family of the Pag;ant, who were Ghibeltines, 
both in the Romagna and elsewhere ; but in Tuscany 
he was such a staunch friend of the Florentines, that 
he invariably sided with them against their enemies, 
no matter on which side they were, and in this par- 
ticular^ Ma^hinardo seemed at times even to exhibit 
himself as a Guelph. But this love of his was not 
altogether unreasonable in Benvenuto's opinion, be- 
cause his father, Pag;ano, at the time of his death, 
seeing that his son was but a child, and surrounded 
by such powerful enemies as the Ubaldini, the Guidi, 
and other Romagnole lords, sent him to the safe 
keeping and wardship of the Commonwealth of 
Ftorence, and they faithfully performed this duty, 
both protecting and educating him, G. Villani (vii, 
cap* 149) describes Maghinardo as *'savio di guerra 
e bene awcnturoso in piii battaglie." He was with 
Charles of Valois when that prince made his entry 
into Florence in 1300, and he died at Imola in 1302, 
In Purg. xiv, liS, Dante calls him Dcmofsio, but Hen- 
venuto remarks that the word comes from Saifiwu, 
aod is to be interpreted as "learned"; that there 
are good demons and bad demons ; and he altOjEjether 
differs from the very severe judgment passed upon 
Maghinardo by Dante, who, we may remark, would 
never have been likely to forgive him for accompany- 
injj Charles of Valols to Florence in 1300. 

The last city of Romagna that Dante mentions is 
Ccscna, Benvenuto thinks Dante speaks of it last 
because at that time it was enjoying a fair amount of 
liberty, and was not subject to any tyrant. We read 
At$naL Ca^^eu. ap. Muratori, Her. It. Vol. xiv, 

II. BB 2 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxvti. 

pp. II2I, 1 122, that Cesena was continually chang- 
ing masters. Every year it had a new Podesta, and 
sometimes two in the same year. Still it was in 
a general way far more free than the other cities of 

Romagna. Any citizen even saspecled of tyrannical 

aspirations was banished forthwith. 

E quclla * a cui il Savto bagnu il Banco. 

Co&i com' ella sie' Ira it piano e il Tnonte* 
Tra tirannia Sti vivc e slato franco. 

And that (city), whose iBank the Savio wasbej?, 
lives between tyranny and freedorti, even a* it 
lies between the phiin and the mountain. 

Dante concludes by entreating the shade of Guido to 
tell him who he is, and we have remarked in an earlier 
Canto (see Vol. i, pp, 365-367) that his addressing 
him with iu, and not with tW, is in this instance solely 
due to the fact that up to this point he has rtot known 
to whom he is speaking, and that as soon as Guido 
has finished the sad tale which he now is to relate in 
reply lo Dante's question, the flame in which he is 
enveloped sweeps him away^ thereby preventing the 
change to the then more respectful voi,f which Dante 

*quft% etc.: Dr. Moore mentions to me the fofl<iwii>g, as 
an extraordinarily graphic description of Ccaena : '* It lies on 
a gcnlle slope, the first rising ground from the boundless plain 
northwards^ with higher hills rising behind it to the Apcnninc 
ranfic in the background- It is ver>^ strikingly tra it pi<mo t il 
monic when it is seen in profile from the Bologna side. The 
Saviti rounds the edge of the flank of the slope on which the 
town blends." 

t t•<^i ; In mcdircval times t\t, in ttalv as elsewhere, was ibc 
ordinary mode of address from one individual to another, irre- 
spective of sex oT ajic : while rtii was ased in itddnvsing fer- 
son9.t£eH of Kuperior ri^nk or chj^nity as a mark of respect. At 
the present day tu can only be Hhcd : <>) In the family among 
the more intimate relations, as for instan(;e between Vrothcrs 

Canto xxvii. Readings m the Jnfmio. 


would undoubtedly have made on tindinj^ himself in 
prefience of a Ghibetline Jeader of so great dignity 
and renown. 

Ora chi sci * ti pre^o che ne conte : t 

Non esser duro pii^ ch' altri sia stato, 

Sc IL nome tuo nel mondo tcgna frontc." — 




and Bistcn, and between cousins, if of the same sex, but not 

from male cousins to female cousins, (i) Between lovers. (3) 
From superiors 10 inferiors — Matitcrs or mititreaties in Tuscany 
would address their own ser\'ant with tu, but the servant of any 
one else with vnj, as in that case iu would be deemed olYensive, 
If one is at a dinner party or a ball, nne must address the ser- 
vants of the house with vol. In no case inust a ^enttcman 
address any female with /m, unless his own female servants, 
and there are gradations even in this — To address a lady in 
society with iu would have a most equivocal ineaningt and 
might lead to a duel. In addressing rnyal, or ministerial per- 
sonages at the present day, the possessive pronoun vo^tro js 
attaL-hcd to the title, such as Voitra Mar$lii^ Vo^tra Ecuiicnzu, 
and in any formal letter V.S. {VoUra Signoria), But this is 
always followed by the third person tn the rest of the sentence. 
Compare Giuati, Sant* Amhro^io, first line, where the Foet sup- 
poses him»lf to be addressing the Minister of Polite r — 
" Vostra Eccellenjta, chc mi ata in caj;neseo/' etc, 
OutBtde of Tuscany there is much less formality of conversa' 
lion, and voi is extensively used among equals. In South Italy 
tvt is universal. 

*thi iei : Observe that Dante aaka Guido to tell him who he 
■St whereas Guido (i, 67) answers by telling Dante what he 
trdi : — 

"lo/ui uom d' arme, e poi/wi cordelliera," 
He never once mentions his name, or, liLe the Emperor Jus- 
tinian, who in Pan vi, 10, tells Pante r "I was Cxsar, I am 
iustintan,"' he would probably have said : " I was Count of 
lontefellro, I am Guido." I3uonconte, Guido's son, does so 
in Purgatory, See Pwrf. v, 88 ; — 

" lo fui di MontefcUro, in son Buanconte." 
♦ /i prt^C che Hf rotttf : Dante not only asks Guido to tell him 
hia name, but to relate the history of his life. ConU is for £iyttti, 
ifom Ci'ntare. On this use Nannueci (AntiHii Crilka, pp. 2S4, 
3S5) u>a that in the early days of the Italian lang:uage all 
three persons in the singular used ti> terminate in r, c.jl;. ivatne. 


t^eadings on the In/erHo. Canto XX\*ffr 

Now I pray thee to tell us who thou art: be not 
more unyielding than another has been (to thee), 
so may thy name maintain its front in the world.'* 

Both Scartazzini and Di Siena think this allusion 
to " others'* or to ** someone else," is a general one, 
referring to any spirits in Hell who have consented to 
converse with Dante and satisfy his curiosity as to 
their identity, but I prefer to follow Benvenuto, who 
interprets the passage thus: " Do not be more in- 

lu tfHtc, egli amt ; in Hme^ tu tcnu, (gli Umc ; iV odt, iu ode^ fgii odf, 
etc. Brunette Latini {Tisorttto^ cap. u) Kas the fotlowjng :— 
" Fari^ mio detto piano^ 
Q\xc pure un solo ^rjino 
Non he che tu v\ow saccle. 
Ma vo che tanto faccic 
Che lo mio dire appicndc. 
Si chc tutlo lo 'ntende. — 
Parlandoli in vfilgart 
Che tu intcnde e appare." 
And Petrarch^ Part i, Canz. iii, sU 6 :^ 

^*Tal ch' io non pcnso udir coaa gianimai 
Che mi confortc ad altro ch^ a trar gu«,i," 
And OantCj Inf. vii, 72 : — 

*'0r vo' chc lu mifl scntcnjsa nc imbocchc," 
And Jnf. xiii, 161 — 

" E '1 buon Maestro : * Prima che piii entre** " etc. 
And Inf. xx'xW, ti7*i29:— 

'* Appresso ci6 lo Duca : • Fa che pinghe,* 
Mi disse, *il viso un poco pi& avante. 
Si che la faccia ben con gli occtii attinRhc,'" etc. 
NannucL'i, who ciles these examples, remarks that tl is clear 
from ihtm how the Commentators on Dan(e make the whole- 
sale mistake, every tjme that they aJludc to these termination*, 
of stating them to be so formed for the sake nf the rhyme, 
whereas on the contrary they are both rcKulur and primiti\-c. 
The Conjunctive singular is derived from the Latin, e ^amtm^ 
amti, airict : timarem^ amarfs^ amard : amavi.Mtm or amttst$m*»i^ 
itt'i55f;i, amavUsct : and when from thei^c was taken away the 
linal consonant, there resulted, in the original forntA of Ibr 
lanK^ua^Ci to amr. tu amr. tgii ame : to amerUf t» amfrit^ i^ii 
amfftt : iV amiisse^ lu amrtsjf, f^'/i amassf. 


Canto xsviL Readings ofi the Inferno. 


flexible about answering me than I have been in 
answering thee/' liuti also has no doubt as to this 
being the right meaning. Both Carlyle and Professor 
Norton so translate the passage, and the former re- 
marks that Dante speaks to Guido with a childhke 
kindness and pity. 

Division 11. — Ahhough Guido da Montefeltro allows 
himself to be persuaded into relating his histor)-, he 
does so with obvious reluctance. The secret plotter, 
who all his life had worked in hidden ways, feels great 
repugnance to utter a word about himself that might 
be made public on earth. He turns over in his own 
mind the l>ros and cons as to whether Dante is a spirit 
or a living man. Without questioning the Poets, he 
decides the matter for himself, and decides wrongly, 
by coming to the conclusion that both are spirits. 
and that any secrets he may utter will be quite safe. 
His intuitive power of nice discrimination has left 

Po9C)a che il foco alquanto cbbe rugghiato ** 
Al modo sua, I' ftcuta punt& moaftc 

*r%gghiMoi Compare II. 5 and 6 of this Canto :^ 
" Ne fcce volgcr gli occhi alia sua cima. 
Per un confuao suon ghc fuor n' uapia." 
And ibid. 13-15 :— 

' Cosi per non aver vja nd forame, 

Ual principio ncl foco, in suo Itnguaggio 
Si convertivAH le parole grunc." 
And /«/- xx%i, 85-90 : — 

•' Lo maggior corno della fiamma antica 
Comincid a crollarsi mormorando, 
Pur comr quclla cui vento afTatroa, 
Indii la cimq qua c JA mcnando^ 

Come foiiftc Ih lingua uhc parlaasc, 
Gittfi voce di fuori." 


Readings tut tke Infirm. Canto Sxvit. 

D) qua, di \h, e poi die €Qtfi] fiato: 60 

— " S' io credessi che mia risposta fosac 
A persona che mai tornassc al mondo. 

Ma ptrocchc giammai di questo fando* 

Non tornd vivo alcun. a' i* odo il vero, + 6s 

Senza tcma d* infamia li rispontlo. 

After that the flame had roared for a while in its 
peculiar way' it moved the sharp point to and fro, 
and then breathed forth in such wise: " If I thought 
that my anawer were iiddresscd to one who would 
ever return to the world, this fiame shouM remain 
without further quiverings {i.e. should speak no 
more): but inasmuch as none ever returned alive 
from this depth— if I hear the truth — without fear 
of infamy 1 answer ihee. 

Benvenuto ihinks it worthy of notice that Count 
Guido deliberately refuses to have his name nien- 
tioned in the worlds a thing many other spirits in 
Hell have cag:et]y desired, but Benvenuto omits to 
point out that none have done so, from the moment 
that ihe Poets descended into the Circles of Fraud. 
The last shades who seem to have expressed a wish 
to be remembered on earth were the three noble 
Florentines mentioned in /«/ xvi ; who on parting 

*ifuestofondti : The more usual interpretation is to undcrstind 
"this depth" to mean Hell, and very possibly it docs bo ; but 
one cannot help turning back to In/, ix, 16/17, where Dante 
asks Virgil : — 

^* In questo fondo ddia trista conca 

Discende mai alcun del primo g,ndo ? " 
in which passage la insla concn (the woeful hollow] means ihc 
cavity of the whole of Hell, and qunto fvn%iv the city of Dis, 
which is ihe Seventh Circle, as contrasted with ii f'nmo grado. 

+ s' i' odo il vero I Though Guido himacJf whs but newly- 
arrived in Hell» he would have got his infonnatiun from his 
com pan ion a in tormriil. 

■Canto xxvn. RtadiHgs oH the tnfcrno. 


ivith Dante* exclaim {]* 85) : Fa chc di twi alia f^mk 
Javtlk. Contrast this with Inf. xviii^ 46 ; xxiv, 13^- 
135 ; and xxxii, 94-102 ; in shorty one may sum up by 
saying that in the Circlesof Incontinence and Violence 
the shades desire to be remembered on earthy but that 
in all the subdivisions of the two Circles of Fraud 
they desire concealment and oblivion. Benvenuto 
thinks Guido's wish to be forgotten is probably due 
to the fact that the Count had first repented of his 
sins» had renounced the world and its pomps, and 
had then relapsed into worse by returning^ to his 
ancient frauds. It must be remembered also that 
the reputation Guido da Montefeltro had left behind 
him in the world was one highly honourable, and 
supposing this slory of his fraudulent counsel given 
lo the Pope were true* which according to some is 
extremely doubtful, he would naturally shrink from 
havini^ this dark deed, hitherto unknown, brought to 

Guido now commences his relation, which con' 

inues to the end of the Canto. 

lo fui uom d' arme, e poi Fui cordetliero,* 
Credendomi, si cinto, fare amncnda : t 
E certo il creder mio veniva tntero { 

''■ * eordftiitrp : See Murray'* A New English Dictionary on His- 
lorudl Principles, s.v, Corddier : "A Franciscan friar of the 

Mrict rule: &o called from the knotted cprd which thc-y wear 
round the waist." 

t ammcHda : Compare Rradinf^s an the Part;atnriit, snd edition, 
viil. ij, pp. ifx>-i6j on the use ot the thricc-rcpcalcd ironical ^er 
.smm^njit (in Ttf^'. xx, (n-tKj) which in meant tii inip]y that Hugh 

ipct'fi dcsccndanlB, !u atnnc for preceding fauhs, committed 
I Kucccsf«ian of other faults always worse and worse. 

{ tftniim intiro : By far ihc more general way of interpreting 


Readings on ihf htfemo. Canto xxvfl 

Se non fosse II gran Prcle, a cui mal prcnda, 70 

Che mi rimisc nelle prime colpc ; 
E come e quare voglio m' inttnda. 

I wa3 a man of atma, and afterward* I wasa Cor-. 
delier (i.e. a Grey Friar girded with the cord of St* 
Francis), trusting thus cinctured to make amends, 
and assuredly my trust was in process of beingl 
fulliiled, had il not been for the Great Pr» 
(Boniface VIII), whom may evil seizCi who put! 
me back into my former errors; and how, and 
why, I wj«h thee to hear from me. 

In this exordium Guido has ^iveti lo Dante a 
brief summary of what he has got to tell him. He 
was first a warrior, then a penitent^ then a monk ; 
he had reached a state of salvation, was thrown back 
into sin, and by the Pope ; he is now going to relate 
how it all came about, and in what manner the sin 
was caused. He first deals with the quart. Why, 
did the Pope specially turn to him for counsel ? 
Because of his world-renowned craft- 

Mentrc ch* io forma* fui d^ oBsa v. di potpc^ 
Che la madre mi di^, V aperc mie 
Nan furon leontnG, ma di volpe-t 

this is sarihbe venuto intero, se hoh Josit stato per it Gran 
I have always preferred to render it '* was in protcw* of bciai^ 
fultilled/' i.e. Guido was in process of expialini; hi& sins by • 
life of mortification. It \% like a passage at the beginning u( 
the Hind (i, 5) where Homer says that the will of Jo%x *a« 
being accpmplishcd : "Atiis it T^^^^^Tn piopXij." Mr, 1'oxcr 
happily renders v(nii'a intero ** was 00 its way in fulfilment.** 

*j'irmti : Scartaj:zini thinks that/tirmu here in lo be taken i 
the philosophical sense, as " While I as a spirit animated the 
form of bonca and flesh given to me by mv mother," etc The 
human boul is the informative principle of the body. 

^ Non fut-on teonine, ma di volpe ; Dr. Moore {The Acadiwy, 
4th June, 1892, in a review) referring lo In/, xi» aa-24, MJi 
that the fund.imenlal distinction of hina of violence and aiiw 


Canto xxvti. Reading ofi the tnfcrnn. 595 

Gli acgorgimenti e Ic coperte vie 

lo s^cppi tutlc; e si mcnai lor arte, 
Ch' at hnc deila terra i1 sunno uftcie. 

While I was the form of bones and flesh that my 
mother gave me {i.e. %vhen I was alive), my deeds 
were not those of the lion, but of the fox. The 
subtle wi(es. and the covert ways,, 1 knew them 
all ; and so applied their art, that to the far end of 
the earth the sound went forth. 

Benvenuto has no doubt whatever that the report 
of the snare into which Guido had drawn the French 
at Forli* and their subsequent wholesale butcherj-j 
must have spread to the extreme confines of the 
West, from over the Alps, and been whirled throui^h 
the whole of France^ where Coant Jean de Apia was 
of great reputation as a commander, as were also his 
followers as doughty men-at-arms. 

Having thus told Uante what qualities in him 
would have made him a counsellor to be sought after 
by the Pope, Guido showed what reasons should 
have prevented him from yielding to the Pope's per* 
suasions to relapse into sin, namely, that he had 
renounced the world, and had devoted himself to a 
life af penitence^ 

of fraud comes directly and almost verbatim from Cicero^ De 
Offuiit, i, cap. tj, and part c»{ the pa»sa};e quoted is reproduced 
in /«/. xxvii^ in the apeech of Guido da Montefeltro: "Lum 
autcm duobuf modis, id est, aut \'t aut Fraudc, fiat injuria ; 
fraus. quB^L ^ utpcculne, viK« itoni!; \'idctur: utrumque hominc 
■licnissiimim: scd fraus odio di|;na majorc." Dr. Moore 
points out that Dante quotes again and again from the Dc 
Ojfficiiif with which he was mast familiar, ^carlaz^ini disputes 
thr juHticc nf thib HSHCCpin^ condemnation of Guidn b^' IliintCt 
nd aAscrtH that, although his dteds certainly were those of 
fox, yet no one can in fairness deny that they were al^o to 
^reat extent those <ii the lion, for there is no dntibt thai he 
> one of the mokt valiant warriors of his time. 


keadin^s oH fh£ Infento. Canto xxvtt \ 

Quando mi vidi f;iunto in queila parte 

Di mia eladc(*f)Vt tiascun dovrcbl^; So 

Calar k vctc c rttCLo^Her le sartc.t 

Ci& cKc pria. mt piaceva, AlLor m' incrcbbc, 
E pentuto e confcsso mi rendei ; { 
Ah) miser lasso 1 e ^iovato sarebbc. 

* in qudla parit Di mia (tud^ : This mciins in the fourth of the 
four apes which Danle {Conv. iv, 24} assij;na to the liCcof man, 
namel\% Senjittv, which begins when a man has Attuinrd his 
seventieth year. Compare Dante's riiwicTf bcKifiininK Lf dalci 
rime if anwr, st, 7 (in Oxford Dante, p. zgy tl. 136-139):— 
" Poi nella quarta parte dclla vita 

A Dio si rimarila, 

ContemplBndo )u fine the V aspcttar 

E bencdice ]i tempi passuti," 
t Cafar U vtk t raccoglicr tc mrte : Compare Conv. iv^ j8. IL 5- 
10; '* la nobile Anima ncll' ultima ct^^ cio^ ncl ^m'u , . , ritoma 
& Dio, siccome a quello porta, ond' trlla ai partio quando vcnnc 
a enirare nel mare di questa vita." And thid. 11. 15-14: *'U 
naluralc morte h quasi porto a no! di lunga navigaitonc c 
riposo. E cosi come il buono marinarocom'es&oappropinqua 
al porto cala Ic sue vcic e soavementc cnn debilc cnnducimcnto 
cntra in qucJl" ; coai nai dovemo caljtrc Ic veic dellc nostre 
m<ondanc iipLTazioni, e tornarc a Dio gon tutto nostrn intcndi* 
mcnto e cuore ; &icchi& a qui^llo porlo ui ve^na con tuitu soaviti 
c con tutta pace." And ihid, II. 55 d aq.: *' Oh miRcri e vtii 
ehe colle \clc allt- corrcte a qgesto porto: c 1^ dove f(i,Tvrc«lc 
riposare, per lo impeto del vento rompctc, c pcrdctc voi 
medeKimt til; ove tanto camminato. Ccna il cavalicrc l.anci- 
lotto non voUe entrare colle vele alte. ni il nobili&fimo no^ro 
Latino [in Fraticelli's edition llaliano] Guido Montefettrano. 
Bene qucsti nobili calaron le vele delfe mondani openuioni, 
ch* nella Ioto lunga etSi a religionc si Tcnd<rro, ogni mundano 
dilettn e opcrnt diponendo." 

I mi reiictei : Hcnvcnuto interprets ihi* : " I>edicavi me Dco." 
Camerini ; '* Mi reai frate." Lord Vernon {Inferno) : *' Mi fcti 
fratc." In a note Lord Vernon explains that this intc-rpicia- 
tihn was by Professor Nannucci, who told bimthaJ renJmt^hy 
itself, means, "to become a monk," and is derived from the 
Provencal $e rendrtt and Old French soi rfniirt^ which signified : 
"farai monaco." Scartaazini and hianc (neither of whum, 
however, were Italians) interpret it diflcrcntly : — 
** rtndcni pentuto - pcntcni, 
and rohiini fwfl/cjio = confc33ar»4.'' 



Canto xxviK Readings on the Inferno, 


When I saw myself come to that period of my 
age, when every one ought to lower the sails and 
gather in the tackle [t.f. give oneself up to God)^ 
Ihat which before had pleased me^ then gave me 
remorse, and after repentance and confession I 
dedicated myself (to God by becoming' a friar). 
Ah hapless me ! and it would have availed ! 

" What a beautiful metaphor I " observes Ben- 
venuto ; "the manner who has been on a lon^ voy- 
age* must steer for a safe harbour, in which he may 
find rest ; even so Man, who has been long tossed 
about upon a sea of fortune, and has toiled, that he 
may acquire power, glory and honour, must furl the 
sails of earthly glory and coil down his ropes, that 
is, the crafty wiles by means of which he has steered 
his course of life through this bitter and stormy 
world, looking forward to a haven of eternal rest, 
laying out the anchors of his hope in God, must 
despise the world, and say with the wise king : 
* Vanity of vanities^ all is vanity,' And mark that 
the lirst duty of a converted sinner is contrition of 
heart ; the second, oral confession ; and the third, 
satisfaction by works ; and it was in this third duty 
that Guido declares he was hindered by Boniface, 
or else it would have availed him." 

Guido now tells Dante the strange combination of 
events which brought him into the counsels of Boni- 
face, The story is somewhat differently recounted 
by the chronicles, but ! prefer, on the whole, to gi\e 
the version of Benvenuto, which is practically iden- 
tical %vith that of Landino. He says that in 1297 a 
grave sedition sprang up in Rome. Pope Boniface 
had contracted a violent hatred against the house of 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxvji. 

Coloniia. as two Cardinals of that great Ghibelline 
family had done all in their power to oppose his elec- 
tion as Pope from his being a Guelph. Besides this, 
Sciarra di Colonna was supposed to have robbed the 
Papal collection or treasury of some monies {Sci^na 
de CoUimna robaverai quasdam sahna'^ mi tft^sauri}* 
The Pope thereupon ordered the Cardinals to lay 
aside their hats, the emblems of their cardinalate. 
As this order was not promptly obeyed, he deprived 
the whole Colonna family of all their privileges and 
dignities. Their palaces were destroyed, their castles 
stormed and razed to the ground, or were given to 
their rivals the Orsini, in order to keep up enmity 
between the two families. He then isi^ucd a Uull 
for a crusade against them, after which he besieged 
Nepi, of which he got possession on certain condi- 
tions. Finding himself unable to capture Praeneste 
[the modern Palestrina], which was an exceedingly 
strong if not an impregnable place, he sent to beg 
Count Guido da Montefeltro to command the be* 
sieging force he had sent against it. This the Count 
refused to do, as he had already become one of 
Minor Friars^ but upon the Pope asking him for 
advice instead, the Count recommended him to make 
the most liberal promises to the beleagured garrison. 
and to please himself about keeping the promises 

♦I cannot help thinking that satmai, corpses, must b« « 
copyist's error for gummas, as I find tn other ComnienUirtc* 
thttt allusion i^ made to certain sums of money having bees 
purloined from the I'ope's treasury. Tamburini. w hosr trans- 
lation of HenvenuLo is beneath contempt, tran&latca laimat 
"eerie mummic!" In modem lUliii» satmn is a word in 
general use for a corpse ; but it ia not found in thjit 
the Votahohrio 44hi Crusia. 



UOt J 


Canto xxvii. Readings on the ht/erno. 


Acting upon this counsel Boniface granted a general 
amnesty, if only the Cardinals would make their sub- 
mission to him. They gave credence to him, and 
came clad in sackcloth and prostrated themselves 
before him. He promised to restore to them aSl they 
had lost if they wouid order the capitulation of Prae- 
neste. His demand was obeyed. Pi'aeneste was 
^ven up. He immediately had it destroyed and 
rebuilt in the plain below with the new name of 
Mviti (Cittu) del Papa. This circumstance, and the 
rbilrary seizure and imprisonment of their kinsman, 
^anni da Caccano, threw the Cardinals into such 
aJarm. that they escaped and for several years re- 
mained in concealment, until in due time Boniface 
himself was captured by those same artifices with 
which he had beguiled others, and died miserably in 
consequence of the bodily and mental sufferings that 


Lo Principle dc' nuovj Farisei,* 

Avendo guerra presso a LateTano,+ 


* l*rimip( dt auitvi Farisci : Tommas£o, Scartazxini and Di 
Siena agree that Principe h to be understood tn a. double sense, 
both because Pope Boniface waa the head of ihe Cardinals 
and Ecclesiastics of the Roman Court, whom Dante calls 
"modetn Pharisees," and aino because Boniface himself was 
tlw gr«a(cBl of PhariBccs, i,e. a hypocrite, Camerini observes 
that St Jerome stijf^Tnatised the'hi^her ranks of the Roman 
cUtgy as ** pharisaeorum senatus." 

t z»frra prij.ko a Luierano : Benvcnuto, Camerini, and Casini 
explain this as meaning that the Pope had war in Rome itself 
with the Colonnas, whose palaces were near the Latcran* 
Bargigi and othtr* think that as the Basilica o( Si- John 
Luoiui i« called the Catholic Church, the term pn-^so Laterana 
wmt mcfth that it wat, in the neighbourhood of Rome that the 
Pope was waging war with the Colonnas who had taken refuge 
'» Pracncste. 


Readings on the In/erfU}. Canto XX\ 


E oon con Saracin, nh con Giudci ; * 
Ch* ciascun suo ntmico era Cristiano, 
E nessunn era stato a vincer Acri, 
N& mercatantc in terra di Soldano ; 

The Prtnce of the modern Pharisees, having war 
near the Lateran, and not with Saracens nor with 
Jews; for every enemy of his was Christian, and 
none had been to conquer Acre, nor to traflick in 
the Soldan's territory. 

Acre was the last stronghold that remained lo the 
Christians after the Crusades* and in lagi was 
retaken by the Pagan Saracens with the aid of the 
renegade Jews and the Christian merchants who 
treacherously supplied them with provisions and 
munitions of war {G. Villani, vii, 145). 

Benvenuto points out thai in the lines that follow, 
three conditions are mentioned as wholly incom- 
patible with warlike proceeding ; as regards the 
Pope, his position as Supreme Ponlifi", and hi& 
sacred calling; and as regards Count Guido, ibc 
habit of St. Francis, which in limes gone by bid 
been an emblem of real abstinence, 

Ni sommo offifio, d4 ordini sacri 

Guardo in se, nt in me quel capcstro f 
Clic solea tar 11 suoi cinti piu macri. 

* rwn con Stfrttcint n^ cvn GiWW ; The war in which lionitue 
was engaged was not for zeal in the cause of religion, but wat 

for his own personal interests, 

t capesiro : Compare Par. xi, 85-87 : — 
*' tndi sen va. quel padre e maestro 

Con la sua donna, e con quella farniglia 
Che f^ii U'gava I' umilc eapestro." 
And Par xii, 130-1 jzi — 

'' llluminain ed Augustin son quici, 

Che iuc dei primj scalii poverelli, 
Che ncl uapcstro a Dio si fcro amici." 

Canto xxvir. Raiiihr^s on the Inferno. 


Neither his exalted office, nor his Holy Orders did 
he regard in himself, nor in me that cord which 
used to render those begirt with it more emaciated. 

The old Commentators believed that Count Guido's 
repentance had been, up to a certain time, very real. 
Benvcnuto observes that he would seem, beyond a 
doubt, to have turned over a new leaf; for he donned 
the garb of a Minor Friar with deep devotion^ humbly 
conforming to the rule, and patiently enduring 
poverty. He was to be seen publicly begging his 
bread in Ancona, where he died and was buried. 
Benvcnuto says that he had heard many things 
about him, which might really have made one hope 
that he had won his salvation. The Anonimo 
Fiorentino records that on one occasion he was going 
to FanOi and in his deep contrition mounted the ass 
of one who travelled that way: he patiently bore all 
e insulting remarks that were levelled at him, but 
as he was entering Fano, a number of asses standing 
ty the entrance of the town began to bray,* and the 
lystanders to laugh ; whereupon the County for all 
that he was a friar, lost his temper, and said: 
** There was a time when 1 have been round Fano 
ilh more hundreds of mounted men-at-arms than 
th^e arc asses here;" and he spoke the truth, for 
as long as it had been in his power, he had always 
been a standing menace to Romagna. 

The better to describe the way in which the proud 

*One must, have lived in the South of Italy to reaUse fuUy 
the vividness of this, description. The braymK of sqmc un- 
dt»nkty would Inevitably be chan^^ed into a plaintive 
; battered about the head with & heavy stick 




i being 

by its gentle owner. 



Readings on the tnferno. Catilo JtxvH. 

Pope came as a suppliant to entreat counsel from 
him, a poor friar, Guido da Montefeltro compares it 
to a tradition (based upon the famous forger)- of the 
ninth Centurj' known as the False Decretals), which 
represented Constantine appealing to Pope Sylvester, 
who had taken refuge in a cavern on Mount Soracte* 
to heal him of the leprosy with which God had 
smitten him for his persecution of the Christians. 
Sylvester healed the Emperor, and converted him to 
Christianity, receiving in recompense the famous 
Donatio Constantiniy a tradition which though per- 
fectly baseless^ was believed in by Dante and his 

Ma come Constantin chleae Silvcstro* 
Dentro Siratti a guarir delta tcbbrE^t 


* Siivestro 1 This (a Pope Sylvester I (314-J35 : "Porctquc 
la lots dcs crestiens eatait novclcment venue, si que li un 
estoient en doutc et ii autre mescrcant, avinl i) par mninteit 
foiff que ]l empereor et li autre qui govcmoient Ics viies 
faisoLent granz persecutions as creEtiens^ et lor faisoient sc^frir 
divers tormenz, jusques au tens qui; Constuntins ti Maijjnc fu 
empercies et SUvcsUes fu cvesques et apostoiU-s dc Koine. 
, . . Or avint chose que Silvestres o grant compaignic de 
c:restien!i s^ en estoient foi sor une haute moniaigne pour 
eschuer les persecutions; et Constantms li empercrcs. qui 
estoient rualade d' une lepre, L' en\'oia querre, car, k ce que on 
disoit de lui et de ses ancestres, il voloit air son coneicil. £l 
tant ala la chose que Silvestres Le baptisa selonc la loi dcs 
cresticnsi, et monda dc sa lepre, Lots maintcnant deviM il 
crcstien!^ touz les siens; et por e:^aucier Ic non Jhcsu Ciisl 
docta il sainte EgUse, et li dona tputes Ics empehaus dijjnitex. 
Etcefu fait I' an de V incarnation Jhesu Crist, ccc. xxxiij^. anf ; 
el j& estoit trovie la sainte croiz. i. po devant. Lor» a' en aU 
Conatantins en Constanttnoble, laqueic est par son non am&v 
apcl^e, qui premi^rement avoit & non Bisance, et tint T empire 
de Grece, kquel ne souzmist mie as aposloilcs sclunc ce que if 
6Bt celui dc Kome," (Brunetto Latini, Trisvr, i, S7). 

fUbbre for Ubbra : Nannucd {Tmrk, Somi^ p. 54) obMrm 
that the early Italians tried to make the terniinatioaH of fem^ 



Canlo XXV! I. Rcadin^^ on ike In/ento, 40^ 

^^^^^T Cos! mi chiese questt per maestro* 

^^F A ^uMfir ddta »ua »uperba febbre: 
^^^^^^ Domanctommt cansjglio, ed io tacetti, 

^^^^^^P Per(;hd 1e sue parok parver ebbr'C-t 

^V But as ConstantJne besought Sylvester within 
^B Saracte to cure him of the leprosy, so did he (the 
^H Pope) beseech me as a physician to cure him of 
^^ the fever of his arrogance {i.£. to gratify his heated 
desire of revenging himself upon the Colonnas) : 
he asked of me counsel, and I kept silence, because 
ht$ words seemed drunken. 

^t Benvenuto remarks that Boniface was intoxicated 
with anger and malice. Lana uses the same words. 
Buti says the words were full of wickedness^ and 

nine naani^ of tbt! first declension conform to those of the third 

and fifth which ended in f, so as to make e the termination of 
al) feminine nouns, and thus they wrote nU for ata ; ictn^re for 
temf^m : fortune ior /ttriuna, etc. 

* maexirn : This word in its primary sense means an expert 
in anything, whether trade, or science, or art, or handicraft; 
it alfio signiftes a shepherd, a pilot, or a tamer of wild beasts. 
M>n>' of the old Commentator^ notably Duti, who is followed 
by Fraticelli, Tommasto^ Camerini and Scartazzinit interpret 
it m4tii(ti, Ui Siena savs the word is, used in that sense by 
Sacchctti, Lasca, and by mote than a hundred of the early 
writers. In Koccaccio, Duam, Giorn. viii, Nov. 9, the 
word is u&ed throughout the novel in i^pcaking of Maestro 
Simone Medico r " IL maeistro, la cui scien^a non si htendcva 
forse pii^ oltre che il medicare i fanciulU del lattime [i.e. milk- 
crwity etc. 

See also Guidn Cavalcanti, Son- vt: — 
^^^^_, '* E porlo nelln core una fcrita 
^^^^^b Che si conducA sol p'cr maestria 

^^^^^P Che sia com' c^li t morto aperlo segno." 

I Tomma^co, Camerini and Scartazzini a^rce that mtus.{To must 
I be taken here in a double sense, lirst that Guido was an e^}>ert 
in Jfviiing stratagtms, and secondly, that the Pnpt: applied to 
him aa a mtJical fxperi to heal him of h4.s fever of arrogance. 
f parole . , . ebbrt : Compare Tibullus. j BUf;. vi, 35, i6: — 
" Ncc bene mcndaci risua componitur ore ; 

Kcc bene sollicitis ebria verba sonant." 




Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxvit. < 

thai Guido held his peace, as the Pope seemed as 
one drunk with wine. 

The Pope, on perceiving Guide's reticence, and 
his obvious reluctance to advise him, proceeded to 
remove his scruples, promising him absolution be- 
forehand for any sin he might commit. 

E pni mi diase : ' Tun cor non sospetti : * lOO 

Finnr t' assoh'o, c tu m* inscgna fare 
SI come Pcnestrtno in terra gctti. 
Lo cicl poss' i<* serrare c disscrra/Cj* 
Come tu sai^ pcM son due le chiavi, 
Che il mio antecessor { non ebbc care/ 

* Tuo tor iton io^peUi : Boniface, on rectivinfi no reply, per- 
ceived that his pari'li fhbre had scandali/cd Guido, so he re- 
assured him by saying: "Let nut y'>ur soul dread that it i* 
gojTiK tn fait into ain." Sasffdlo is used by Dante lo cxpi 
doubts and fears. Compare fit/, v, 129^ — 

*' Soli eravamiJ c senza alcun sospctto.** 
In Inf. iii, 14, 15, »oa{>dto, fear, i£> put in conjunction with Wl/J, 
cowardice, whtn Virjiil says to Danle: — 

*^ Qui si cnnvien lasciare ogni sospctto; 
(Igni villi convien chc qui 31a mnrta/' 

t Lo ciei Piiss' ill sirrari e dUurrart : Boniface was quoting 
Scripture* Compare Mait. xvi, ig: "And I will give unto 
ihec the keys of the kinfidom nf heaven : and whatsoever thou 
shah bind on i'arth shall be bciund in heaven : and whatsoever 
thnu shall Loose on earth b^hult be loused in heaven.** And 
Rev. iii, 7 : " These things saith he that in holy, he that it true« 
he that hath the key of David, he tha( opcneth, and no man 
fihutteth; and shutteth^ and no man opcneih." 

I it mio tintfusxor : Meaning Celestine V. whom, with what 
'I'ommas^o stigmatises as diabohcal irtmy, Boniface acci»e« 
nf havinR renounced the Papacy, and thus ishown thai he »et 
small value on the Itcya of Heaven. On the real truth of (his 
statement, Bargigi wrttcs: "Dieiro la rcnunxia<ionc falta da 
Celestino quinto con ^rande astuxia scppe tcner modo the fu 
clelto easo alia somma dignity papale, ed tniquisgimamcnte fcce 
rcstringere Celestino in prigione ncl Castcllo di Sulmona, cn-e 
non visse molto, La qual cosa muli^namentc fece per pntef 
pitl sicuramente rivcrsare il mondo a mcKJo buo senxa Umorc, 
che Celestino mai piu potesse aspirare a) papAto." Scc MiMO 
note on in/, iii, jg ; vol. i, p. gfi. 

,anto XXVII. Readings on the Inferno. 



And then he said to me; ' Lei not ihy heart mis- 
give ihce : from this moTnent I ahsolve thee, and 
do ihou teach me so to contrive that 1 may hurl 
down Palefitfina to the ground. I have the 
power* as thou knowest, both to dose and to 
open Heaven; for which purpose two are the 
keys (committed to me) which my predecessor 
held not dear,' 

As Pope, Boniface could admit into Heaven^ or 
exclude irom it, whomsoever he pleased, according 
to the pretensions of the Papacy to exercise the 
privilege conferred upon St. Peter by Our Lord* 
According to Dean Plumptre the words imply : (i) 
that the claim to absolve by anticipation was not 
unknown ; and (2) that Dante, as a theologian, 
rejected it as unreasonable and contrary to the 

Guido goes on to relate how he yielded to the 
Pope's persuasions, which moreover, he hints, were 
of so cogent and authoritative a nature, that it would 
probably have cost him his life or his liberty to have 
resisted them. 

Allor mi pinscr g[i argomenti gravi* 

La 've il tacer mi fu awigo il peg^i'^j 
£ dissi : ' Padre, da che tu mi lavj 

vmtnii />ravi : Dante repKsents Count Guido to us aa 
feting between the fear of falling into ain by piving fraudu- 
tounftel to the Pope, and that of disobeying his Pontifical 
Blhority m riot at once bendinp in re\'ertnce to the holy Keys 
1 rivtrvHxa UelU iommt chiavi). Ciuido thfiu^ht the first danger 
ts great, but the second i^reuter: and deluded hirnsctf into a 
falae iccurity frnm the absolution given hmi beforehand, and 
wc are left to infer that in this false bcfurity he livtd during 
the rest of his life in a drcunif from which hi: waii only rudely 
awakcred by Ihc reality of finding that the Piend had triumphed 
cf Si, Franeis in the contention for his soul. Not even did 
influciice ul lit. Francis, the Seraphic Father \l'ar, xi, ^jy)^ 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto 3txvn. 

Di quel peccatD, ov' io mo cader dcggio. 

Lunpa promessa con ]' attender corlo* ] 

Tj far^ trionfart nell' a(to scggio/ 

Then did his weighty arguments impel me lo that 
point where to be silent seemed to me to be the 
worst counsel, and I said: ' Father* since thou 
dost cleanse me from that sin into which I nowj 
must fall, (this is my advice), Lon^^ promise with 
short keeping will makelhec triumph on the High 
Seat. ' 

Although many have suggested doubts as lo the 
historical accuracy of this story as told by Dante, 
Scarta^^ini is of opinion that &uch doubts are void 
of all foundation. The anecdote is related by Villani 
(viii, 23) ; it is to be found in the ChrotUcon Francisci 
Pipini {«/>. Muratori, Rerum Itnliujrum iicriptorcs, vol. 
ix, p. 741); and the fact remains that Boniface fol- 
lowed the fraudulent counsel. 

Machiavelli {Principe, cap. xviii) heartily endorses 
the counsel given by Guido : " Quanto sia laudabile 
in un principe mantenere la fede e vivcre con intc- 

avail to &avt one of Uh followers from perdition. Dante evi- 
dently wished to show of how little value in hi* estimation 
was the superstitious belief nf his contemporaries, thai the 
mere donninf^ the habit of St. FrnSincis could be sufficient to 
save a soul. If Cjuido had not been iully persuaded of the 
efhcacy of the Pope's absolution, he would have obtained it 
anew utter due contrition and penitence. 

■* aiUndir iortv : One of the significations of the verb attmJtn 
in the dictionaries is that of mantetier ia f-rptntna. The short 
ici*rt&} performance of it docs not nccessahly imply the noo* 
fulfilment, but an only partial keeping ot faith to the cngxgc- 
ment lakeo. 'I'hc people of Palcstrina are saud to ha^x recctAvd 
abMolutioo bcfnre they were destroyed. 

t Tt Jurti ifivn/ar : There is a terrible irf>ny in thc»e wonSst 
when one thinlts of the \n^l humiliation!* that Boniface himself 
sulTcred at the handiit of the Colonna, and which moved cirq 
Uantc lo pity. (3cc I'ur^. xa, S6 <:/ i*y.). 

Canto XXVII. Readings on ike Infertto, 407 

grit£L, e non con astuzia, ciascuno lo intende, Non- ' 
dimanco si vede per esperienza ne' nostri tempi 
quell i principi aver fatto gran cose che della fede 
hanno tenuto poco conto, e che hanno saputo con 
V astu^ja aggirare i cer\'e1It degH uomini, ed alia 
fine hanno superato quelli che si sono fondati in su 
la ^fl 
The end of the dark tale is at hand, and we learn ^^H 
that retribution fell heavily upon the poor sinner, ^^H 
who survived his relapse but one short year. ^^| 

^H France^o venne* poi, com' in fui morto, ^^^| 

^^K Per mei ma un de' neri Cherubjni + ^H 

^^M GLi disse : ^Non poitar; non mi far torto. 

^^m Vcnir se ne dee giu tra' mici meschini^ | 115 

^B Pcrch^ diede il con^igUo frodolente, 

• Franctsco venne : Professor Norton remarks thai St. Francis 
came for Guido^a ^out, as that of one of the brethren of his 

+ j*n de' mri Cherubint : The Anortimo Fittrcntino says that 
^Ktherc are nine Orders of Angels, and some of each Order fell 
^Bfwith Lucifer] into Hell ; and each Order has its special attri- 
^Bbutcs. These Cherubim^ who hold the ^ecnnd rank amon^ the 
^^Ungcls, possess an intuitive perception of the meaning of the 
^^^ficripturcs, although they have lost the knowledge of them. 
^HCompare inf. jociii, 150-132;— 

^^ft "Onde nni ambo e due possiomo uscJrcl ^^ 
^^H Scnza costrinKer de^l) angcli neri, ^^^H 
^^^ Che vegnan d esto fondo a dipartirci." ^^^| 
^■lloore quetiCion.s some of ^at'h Order having fallen. See 
^vQardncr, The Ten Heavens, p. 24. Sumvm^ i, 65. Seraphim 
and powibly Thrones exempt. 

J nusehini is " servants, nftiniona.'* Compare /it/1 ix, 43, where 
Dantc calb the Furies the handmaidenii of Proserpine :— 
^^H^ " £ queif che ben conobbe le mcsehine 
^^H^ Delia regina dcH' eterno pianto," etc. 
^^Bnd aee my note on that passage in Vol. i, p. 303. Compare 
^H^* AflMVO, % LI. Sonnet V, IL ■4-|-4'j : - 

Readings rm ike Inferno. Canto XXVir. 

Da] quale in qua * slato gti sono a' crini ; 
Ch' assolver non si pub cht non si pente, 
N& penterc e volere insieme puossi,t 
Per la contradbion che nol consentc' | 


" Cavalcando 1' altr' ier per un caLinmino, 
Pensoso detl' andar, cbe mi sgradift, 
Trovai Amor in me^io della via. 
In abilo leggier di pcregrirto. 
Nella scmbian^a mi parea mcschino 
Come avessc pcrdulo signoria." 
FraticeLli interprets machino as a slave in both pa&sagcK. 

* Dal iiuaU in qua^ ic\. seq, " The signification of the sen' 

is: *^ Dill quale consiglio in qua, i.e, dal quaU icmpo, chc diede 
tat consiiglio inl&na ad ora, ."fiaio gli sono ai ^rittt, i.e. "close to 
his hair, so that when the moment came, I might catch him 
bv it {acnuffarh) so that he should not escape mc." (Di 
SWna). Compare in the episllc of Jude the contention between 
Michael the Archangel and the Devil for the body of Mc&ev 
In Readings on the I'ur^aUmo (2nd ed.)t Vol. i, pp. 186, 1S7, it 
was pointed out in reference to Puvp. v, ioo-ioW, the wonderful 
contrast between the deaths of the lather, Ouido, and the vw» 
Buonconte da Montefellro. The farmer lost hi& soul for a 
fiingle word of evil counsel which annulled all the fruits of hia 
penitence, and St, Francis was constrained to allow the Demon 
to gain the contest In the case of the son, but one singte &igh 
breathed forth to the Virgin at the moment of death decided 
the contest in favour of th* Angel «f God, and the bafHed 
Demon had to be content to vcnl his rage upon the Hfclcw 
body. This kind of contention is not uncommon in Mcdt^viil 

+ Ni penUfe e v^lert ittsUnif puoi$i : Compare Di Mom. ill, 8, 
II. 47-49: "Posset eflim, solvere mc non pocnflcnlem, quod 
ctiam facere ipse Deus non posscL" Sec also Moore, StaJta 
in DfttiU, ii, p, 74. 

I Per la coalrndit'ton Ik's not consente : Di Siena points out the 
force of (he fit-ndish dialectic I No one can be absolved from 
a sin unless he has repented of t( : Guido could not aaaurcdlv 
repent by anticipation of the sin which he had the will in hi* 
soul to commit^ and did commit : thcreriire the nbsotution wa& 
null and void^ and he died in &in. Man repents i>f what he 
would nol willingly have done: but to repent of a tre»}^>a» 
and to will to trespass is the same as repenting and nol 
repenting at the snmc timer which involves a Lontrndiction. 

Canto xxvii. Readings on the Inferno, 


(St.) Francis came for me afterwards, as soon as I 
was deadt but one of the black Cherubim (inter- 
posing) said to him : ' Bear him not away ; defraud 
me nol. He has got to comt down among my 
mmioRs, because he f^SLve the fraudulent counsel, 
from whsch time I have been (clutching) at his 
hair. For he who does not repent cannot be 
absolved, nor is it possible to repent and to will 
at the same time, by reason of the contradiction 
which allows it not.' 

The unhappy being recalls to mind his agony at 
ihe moment of realising his eternal perdition, and 
the exultalion of the Demon that his logic had pre- 
vailed over the arguments of St. Francis. 

O mc dolcntel come mi riscossit* 

Quando mi prese, dicendomi ; ' Forse 
Tu non pcnsavi ch' io Inicat fnssL* 

Ah wretched me ! how I reawakened (x.«. how my 
eyes were suddenly opened) when he seized me, 
saying to me ; * Perchance thou didst not imagine 
that I waa a logician I ' 


* mi risfossi : The more usual translation is : *' how I shud- 
dered," which [5 one of the meanings of rhcuoicrsi. 1 prefer 
another mtraninfi, given in the \\Knbt>!arm liilla CrHsai 
(Manuzj:i)i and adopted by Di Siena, namely mi desiait i.r. I 
awoke* my eyes were opened to my delusion in having put 
faith in tliat false absolution. It was the re-awfikerinj^ of the 
lellectual facuhics nf Guide from the lethargic illusion which 
■evented bis discerning Ihe error in which he had been living. 
t wa» the DcviPs logic that aroused him, and, made him 
really understand for the first time that he was lost. Compare 
Pnrg. is, J4.39 :— 

Non altrimenti Achille si riscosse 

Oji QCLhi svcfitiati rivolf^endo in giro, 
E non sappiendo 1^ dnic si fosse, 
Quaadn la madrc da Chiron a Schiro 

Tralugo lui dormcndo in Ic su^ bratcia, 
L,h ondc poi )i Greci il dipartiro/' 
floicv : Compare hico in Cohv. iv^ 10, I. 3^ 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxvii. 

There is little more for Guido to tell Danlc. The 
Demon's action is exceedingly prompt, and the 
routine of Hell has little variation, except that even 
in Minos [quel conoscitor ddle peccata) the enormity of 
Guido's crime would seem to have aroused especial 

A Minos Tiii porto : e qucgli attor&c 

Otto volte la coda a! doaso duro, las 

H, poi che p^T gran rabbit la %i morse, 
Dissc : ' Quest! h dei rci del foco furo:'* 
Perch* io I^ dove vedi son perduto, 
B s\ vcslito andando mi rancuro." — 

To Minos he bore me : and he round his stubborn 
back eight times did coil his tail, and then when 
from great fury he had bitten il, said : * This is 
one of the sinners of the fire which conceals its 
prey {lit. thievish) ' : wherefore I, where thou secst, 
ani lost, and going thus attired, I bemoan me.'* 

Guido's story is now told. He has no wish to be 
recalled to memory, and as he utters his last mourn- 
ful words, he hurries away, while the Foets pa^s on 
to the top of the bridge overhanging the next Boi^a. 

Quand* egli cbbe il suo dir tosi tompiulo, 130 j 

La fitimma dotorandof ni panio 

*/oco furo : Trissino in his paraphntse cxpUins (bh: 

"costui & uno del dannatt ad entrarc nclla fiamma occulta- 
trice," f,*", the fire which hides its prey. Compare /irria jn In/. 
xxv't, 404a : — 

" Tal si movea ciascuna per la gola 

De] fossD, chc nessuna mostra il /urto, 
Ed ogni ftamma un pctcatorc in^ola." 
My note on Ihat passage explains /wr^w as "the thm^ con- 
cc;ilcd,^' ^K in Kacinc'it A thaii<t Aci i, sc. J, where the words 
" Hfureux lart^in [happy theftj" is applied to youn^^ Kitu: l oath j 
w ho had been hidden and pjcserved by t'rinccss JchoKhefe 
i iioktramio : Uenvcnuto thinks the chief cause of Gfl 
anguish was the thought of how little all bis wisdom a|id cnJI^ 
b«id availed him. 

Canto xxviL Readings on the Inferno. 



Turcendu e dibattendo il corno acuto,** 
Noi passammo oltre, cd lo e tl Duca mio, 

Su per lo scoglio t infiino in suIT altr' arco 
Che copre il fosso, in chc d paga il ^0 \ 135 

A quci che scommtrttendo acquistan carco. f; 

When be had thus completed his tale, the flame 
in anguish speeded away, twisting and tossing 
its sharp horn. We passed onward, both mj 
Guide and I, up alonp; the bridleway until (we 
were) on the next arch that spans the fosse in 
which the penalty is paid by those who, through 
sowing discord, accumulate a burden (of guilt 
that has to be expiated). 

* dihittttndo ii cortto atuto : The recital of the story of his life 
*e*nis lo havt greatly increased his sjufferings, 

i sco^iio : It niu:>t not ht forj^otlen that the Poets have re- 
mained atl tbis time standing on the ari:h of the same bridge 
from which they had liiitetied to the talc of Ulysses. 

J fj paga iijio .- Compare i^nrg, xi, 8d ;'— 

" Di tal Bupcrbia qui si paK^i ii fio." 
Donkin {Eiymologicut Dict'wTmry) shows ihsiXjio has its equiva- 
lents in many old lan^aj^es, too numcrous^ to quote. It \m the 
Lombard jiu in /uJ^r-jSuiti patrimony, 0,H.G-/Aa /cAiu {ptrui)^ 
. . . English jo:; Scotch ftu ; ett. From pu Jeu came ihe 
\„\^. feudum feodum {in the ninth century). In modern Italian it 
is only used in the phrase pagan, or scontan it ftu, lo pay the 
penalty ; and Untrt, or autre injio, Hignifits to have or possess 
anything without bein^ abs^olutel^' matitcr of it. 

fl xtxmmilif»do acquistan carco: Scartazzini says that a load 
or cart^o is usually accumulated by packing together {vitmmet' 
Undo), but the doomed m the next bolf^ia accumulate their load 
of bin by separating, disuniting [scommciicndo), and the more 
ihcv separate and disunite, the greater burden do they accu- 

This applies as much to those who disintegrated their native 
country, or the portions of it thai should have remained united^ 
a> to thoKC who by guilty machinations severed Ihendshipii. 
The formef class, however, would stem to be more deserving 
of being punibhed aa 1 raitora in Antcnora. 



Readings on thi Inferno. Canto xwiii. 




Full of horror are the sights which Dante has to 
witness in this Canto. His yearning after a United 
Empire, in which the Spiritual Rule should be under 
the Pope, and the Temporal Rule under the Emperor, 
both governing hand in hand for the welfare of man- 
kind with a twin beneficent sovereignty, made him 
visit with unsparing rigoar all who by their factions 
and feuds, by their jealousies and self-seeking, had 
sought to impede union in pubhc, to sow dissensions 
or breed scandals In private, or had propaj^atcd 
schisms. His feelings on this subject can best be 
understood if one reads his noble outburst of indig- 
nation against the feuds of Italy in the Sixth Canto 
of the Pur^atorio. 

Benvenuto divides the Canto into four part%. 

In Division I, from ver. i to ver. 21, Dante de- 
scribes in a j^cneral way the terrible penalty of the 

Tn Divtsivn 11, from ver. 22 to ver. bj, Dante sees 
the shades of Mahomet and his kinsman Ali, both 
horribly mutilated ; and from the former he Icanis 

!anto XXVI II. Readings on the hifcrnn, 


the punishment inflicted upon those who sow dis- 

In Divhion III, from ver, 64 to ven 102, Dante 
is addressed by the ahade of Pier da Medicina, a 
Bolognese, who predicts the assassination of two 
worthy citiiiens of Fano by the wicked Malatestino 
of Rimini. 

In Division IV, from ver. 103 to ver. 142, Dante 
las some conversation with Mosca de' Lamberti of 
Florence, and with Bertrand de Born of Perigueux 
in Gascony* 



Division I.~At the end of the last Canto, after the 
hurried departure of the tlame containing the spirit 

Guido da Montefeltro, we saw that the Poets con- 
tinued their way until they found themselves on the 
summit of the next bridge. They had been standing 
in the centre of the arch over the Eighth Bolgia. They 
ould seem to have descended the slope, walked along 
;he causeway that crossed the rampart, and then to 
[ftve ascended the ninth bridge, standing on the 
summit of which Dante begins this Canto. 

He sees below him human forms with every sort of 
wounds and mutilations that a sword can inflict. The 
victims are they who in life, by mischief-making, dis- 
seminating strife, and causing schisms^ have divided 
and separated all that Divine Love has joined to- 
gether and united. Their penalty is analogous to 
their offence. They have to pass in turns before one 
of the Demons, who with a sharp sword administers 
:o each a stroke so terrible, that the whole Bolgia is 
like a battlefield. Dante is at a loss how to give an 
adequate description of the horrors of the spot. 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto XXviir. 

Chi poria mai pur con parnic sciolter* 

Dicer + del sangue e rfclk piaghe appicno, 
Ch* i' ora vidi^ per narrar piu voile ? 

Ogni lingua per certo vcma mcno * 

Per lo nostro sermonc Jj c per ta mcntc || 

* parole uiolU : This mtans Prose, " Parole sciolte vagljnno 
Parole non ofabligate alia rima o al verso, Prosa, Lat. ioiula 
oratio." {Gran DiziQuario^ s.v. sciolto^ ^ it). Compare Miche- 
Langeb Buonarrc^tJ il Giovane, La Fura, Giorn. v. Act i\\ 
sc. 3 :— 

" In quella guisa chc 'I parjare sciolto 
(Ch' io intcndo per prosa), 
Kiceve da' perimli maggiori 
Mag^ior lo slil." 
Ovid {Trisi. iv« lo, 21-24) describes how, dissuaded by his father 
from attempting tp write poetry^ he took to prose :■ — 

"Saepe paler dixit : ' Studium quid inutile tentas ? 
Maeonides nuUas ipse reliquit opes.' 
Motus cram dictis, totoque Heliconc relicto, 
Scriherc conabar verba soluta modis,*' 
^ Dicer : Both Blanc {Voc, Dant.\ and Nannucci (Am^. Ct 
p. 5S1) agree that dkere was an antiquated forrn for Jin^ and ts 
to this day in use in the Neapolitan provinces. Dante uses il 

{ iiugua , . . varria Wi^io : Compare Inf. iv» i4j>i47 : — 
^^ lo nan posso ritrar di tutti appicno ; 

Perocchfi si mi caccia il lungo tcma, 
Chc molte volte al falto il dir vicn meno," 
And Virgil, .-En, xi, 625-627 ; — 

" Non, mihi si linj^uae centum sint, oraquc centum, 
Ferrea vox, omnes scelerum comprenderc foniiAs» 
Omnia poenarum percurrerc nomina possim." 
And Tasso, Gfms. lather, ix, st. 93, 

§ Per h nostro scmiunt:: Dante {Ep. Kani, g is^, 11. 574-581) 
writes: " Ncscil quia oblltua: ntqmt, quia si rccord;itur, cl 
contcntum tenet, scrmo tamen deficit Multa namque per 
Intellectum videmus, quibus signa vocalia desunt. quod satis 
Plato inatnuatp . . . Multa enim per lumen intcllcctuale vidit, 
quae sermonc propfio nequivjt exprimcre." An almost com- 
plete commentary on the passage in the tenl, as showinn; the 
insuRiciency of human speech or thought to express ade(||uately 
such a vast variety of tHin^gs, is afforded by ChapterH j and 4 of 
Cotivito^ iiif as well as in the opening CtiMtyrii- of that Trattaia. 
\\t per la mcnU' Di Siena feels sure that tlic idea Dmnte i* 

i il 


.Canto XxviII. Readings on the tnferna. 


Ch' hflTino a tanto comprendcr poco seno. * 

Who, even in words released (from the laws of 
rhythm, /\f. m prose) could ever describe in full, 
by frequent telling, the blood and the wounds that 
I now saw ? Every tongue would assuredly fall 
short {of adequate narration) by reason of our 
(humart) speech and through our understandinjfj, 
which have but litlle capacity for embracing so 

Benvenuto observes that this is but the simple 
truth, for no human intellect can comprehend, or 
speech express, the vast multitude of wounds that 
are made in the world by the evil ton^^ues of mis- 
chief-makers. Dante compares what he saw with 
some of the blctodiest fields of battle recorded in 


re embodying in the word mente is much more complex than 
merely " jnemoryj" which is only a part contained in it i but 
thai he undoubtedly explains the word tn Conv. iii, c, :?„ 11, i23- 
138; "In qucsta nobili^KJma parte dell' Anima [la Ragione] 
sono piu virtLi . . . una . . . chc si chiama Siiintifiia^ e una 
. . . raguinat'tva ovvero consigliaiiva : c chc con qucsta sona 
certe virlii . . . siccome la virtil inv^ntiva c giuiiicativiL E tultc 
questc nobiliasime virlij, c 1' aEtre che aono in quelle eccellente 
potcn^a, %i ehiama insiemc con {juesto 'xocabolo, del quaEe m 
volca sapcre che fosac, cioi mente ; per che £ manifesto, chc per 
menU s^ intcnde questa ultima e nobilissima parte dclF aniitia." 
Therefore Di biena concludes that in the Tersitia, 4-6, Dante 
js beyond a doubt indicating (he two ineffabiUtUs or deficienctca 
in the human intelligence and human speech^ as applied tn his 
difficulty of comprehending and narrating both the quantity 

d the quality {tuUa e quaah) of the new sights that met his 

c in the Ninth Bvigia. 

* toco seno : titanc {Voc. Dttnt.) says that in this passage it is 

lubtful whether Dante meant seno to expresis the capacity that 
ihjn); may have, or whether he has not adapted it 10 his, rhyme 
lAtead of ienno — capacity of mind. I unhesitatingly prefer 
former view, I cannot believe that Dante required to alter 

rdi to fit then) to rhyme. 

4i6 Reitdm^^s on the Inferno. Canto xxviii. 

S' ei s' arlunasse ancor lutla la Rente 
Che jjii in suUa fortunala terra* 
Di Puglia fu del suo sangue dolenlc 

Per U Troiani,t c per la lunga Ruerra J \o 

* fortunata terra .' Commenfators take widely different xHeW» 
as to the meaning oi forlumiia. Some, among whom is 3co- 
vcrtuto, think it mav be taken, either as meaning that Ihe land 
was fortunat* to the victors, or because In it were fought nut 
such terrible conflicts. I prefer to follow the view adopted bv 
LandinOt Venluri, Bar^gi and Scartarzini+ namely, that the 
land of Apulia was subject to many strange vicissitudes of 
fortune. Fortituata Is used here in the sense of fortunoia ffxtm 
the verb forlumirt, to experience Ihc vicissitudes tif fortune. 
There is yet another interpretation given by those who under- 
stand foriunaia to be derived from foriuha, a tempcat^ and to 
have th:? sense of '^'storm-tossed." Compare also JoriundUt 
valh (fateful valley! in /n/- Jtxxi, 115. 

iTraiani: Dr. Moore [Text. Cnl. pp. 340-34211 thinks that 
Tfoidrti which has an overwhelming preponderance of MS. 
authority, is much to be preferred to the reading R&mami, which 
was probably an early marginal gloss explaining Troiant^ and 
got to be Copied as a correction of the text. Dante frequently 
averts the identity, in the way of origin and descent, of the 
Romans and Trojans, and in such cases, by a sort of anachron- 
ism, interchanges the names of races thus related. Sec Ffnsi. 
V, g 4, 11. 51, 52, where Hanle appeals to the rulers of Italy, 
"si quid de Trojanorum Latinorumquc scminc superesl." 
Foscnln boldly states (saya Dr. Moore, i.e.) ' " Trojani e Homam 
tn tutte le opere di Dante aono (utt* uno." In Conr. iv, 5, M. 
i6j-i6j;, Dante speaking of the <jaula, aaya: ^'quandoli Frmn- 
rescfii, tutta Koma presa, prendeano di furto Camp^Uogti^ idi 
notte." Also in Par, vi, 49, the Carthaginians are spoken of 
as the "-Arabi che dietro ad Annibale passAro," because in 
Dante's time the former Carthaginian tcrritor)' waa in the 
Occupation of the Arabs, 

\ la lun^a guerra : Dante evidently means the Second Piuiic 
War, which lasted more than fifteen years. In this WAf, op 
the bloody field of Cannae, there fell according to Livy 4j^no 
men, though Polybius, who was not a Koman, records a death- 
roll of 03,000. After thi^ battle the victorious Caithajpniana 
cotlccted Ihree bushels and a half of gold rings, which were 
sent by Hunnibal to be laid before the Senate ut Cartha^. 
Cnmpare Ci"ti.'. iv% 5, II. r&4-i7[j using the term Ire m«ggiM 
d' amlh in Affrktt trano portaU. 

Canto xxviii. Readings on the Inferno. 


Che dell' anella fe' si aite spo^lie, 
Come Livio strive, che non crra:* 

Con quella ctie senti dj colpi doglie 

Per contrastare a Roberto Guiscardo,+ 
E r altra, il cui ossamc ancor s' accoglic 

A Ceperan4 1^ dove fu bugiardo 

Ciascun Pughcse, c 1^ da Tagliacozzo ^ 
Ove senz* arme vinse it vecchio Alardo : 


*Com4 Livio icrive^ che non erra ; Dr. Mnpre {Studin in Danti, 
if p. 274) thinks that Dante probably usvd »ome historical 
epitome, from which he assumed that Livy would be the 
natural source from which auch information would be derived. 
Scartazzini remarks that the days are gone by when Livy was 
reputed so trustworthy an historian. (Comp. Livy xxiii, la.) 
CompaTc aUo D( Man, ij^ 3, 1). jz, 33; "Titus Livius, gestorum 
RamanDTum acrtba egregius." 

* Rohcrio Gmiiardo : Brother of Robert, Duke of Normandy 
(1070). He came into Italy, commanded the troops of the 
Duke of Apulia with conspicuous sktlU then married hia 
daughter, and became his successor. The Aputians resisting 
the succession by force, he defeated them with great slaughter, 
together with *Mhc schismatic Greeks and unbelieving Sara- 
ccna " who according to Gibbon (cap. Ivi), were in alliance 
with them. Compare Par. xviii+ 48. 

^Ctptran: At the battle of Bencvento, where Manfred was 
defeated by Charles of Anjou in 13&6, and fell on the field of 
battle, Cepcrarko was the key of the position. The Apulians 
who were to have defended this point faithlessly deserted 
Iheif post both here as well as an impregnable pass tn a gorge 
of the mountains, of which treachery the troops of Charles of 
Anjou look immediate advantage. G. Villani (vii. Cap, 9) gives 
a mil account of this. With regard to the bones of the slain 
being: still gathered up by the peasant^, compare Virgil, i 
G«rff. 493-497 •— 

'"Scilicet et tempuiG veniet, cum Bnibus illts 
Agricola, incurvo terram molttus aratro, 
Excsa inveniel ftcabra rubigine pila, 
Aut gravibua rastris gateas pulsabit inanefi, 
Grandiaque eflTossia mlrabitur o&sa sepukhris." 

\TAgliacoziu: A castle in the Abruj^^i near which in 1268 

Coandin (son of the limpcrnr Conrad IV, artd ncph<:w of 

Manfred, Kingof Apulia) was defeated and captured by Charles 

of Anjou, One ot Charles's knights was> Erhard {Alardo) ^k, 

lU DD 


Readings oti the Inftrmy, Canto xxviii. 



E f)ual foratn suo rrembrft, e cjual mozzo 
Mostrasscr, da equar sarehbc nulla 
Al modo * dclla nona boJ(,'ia so^zo. 

If all the people were again assembled, that of old 
upon the fateful field of Apulia wefe lamenting for 
their blood (shed) by the Trojans {i,e, Romans), 
and (for those also that fell) throughout the long 
(second Puntc) war, which made such a he^iped-up 
spoil of the rtnjjs, as Livy writes, who does not 
err: together with that (host of Saracens), which 
felt the sufierings of wounds in their reststance to 
Robert Guiscard, and the other (host) whose boncA 
are still picked up at Ccperano, there where each 
Apulian proved traitor, and (they who fell) there 
at Tagliacozzo, where without arms (but by strata- 
gem) old Alardo was victorious : (were ail these.| 
assembled together), and one were to display his 
limb transpierced, and another his lopped off* it 
would be nothing to equal the ghastly spectacle of 
the Ninth Bolgia, 

" And here mark," says Benvcnuto, "how Daote 
metes out a punishment proportionate to the sin of 
the Schismatics ; for we shall see by what follows, 
that their penalty is that they shall all be lacerated, 
divided, maimed, and wounded in their different 
members, according to the greater or lesser enormity 
of their delinquencies; and this on the principle that 
just the very sins that a man has committed become 
the instruments of his punishment ; for these sinners 

Vallery, and G. Viltant (vii, caps. 36, 27^ relates that by hii 
advice the army of Conradin was allowed to defeat iwo-lnirdB 
of Ch:irlc8'» army, after which the remaining; third rushrd out 
of an ambush on their rear, while they were ^catiered for 
plunder, and annihilated thtrm, 

* moitv : The: Vot, delUi Ousftf (Manujexi, ^ vii) t-tato that 
tnodu may be used to sij^nify "^appearance, figure." Di Siena 
explains it "the horrible spcclActe." 

Canto xxvin. Readings on the Inferno* 419 

Iiave divided hearts that were united, and minds that 
■were at one in matters of Faith, or friendship, or 
trust, or consanguinity, aiid have often drawn men 
into wars, to deaths, to wounds, to hatreds, and to 
occasions of stumbling. For there is nothing so, 
sharp as a malicious tongue which pierces the hearts 
of credulous and kindly people, wounds them and 
severs their friendship," 

Division II.— Dante first describes the awful 
penalty of the greatest Schismatic the world has 
ever seen, namely, Mahomet, the false prophet of 
the Moslem Faith. Horrible indeed is the appear- 
ance he presents. To him the aven|:;ing Demon 
seems to have dealt a sword-cut more terrible than 
to any of his miserable companions^ a blow which 
had laid open his whole body from the chin to the 
fork, so that his intestines trail along the ground. 
In the drawings of Botticelli these details are por- 
trayed with minute realism, Dante remarks that 
the gaping wound reminds him of a cask that from 
having lost part of the head, displays a wide-open 
^^f Giil vcggia* per mezzu! t perdere o lulla, { 

*viggia ' According to Landino and VelutcllD the word is 

erivcd from vegeSfS. cask, though some assert that it is a word 

unknown origin. TommaR^o &ays that at Bergamo the 

3rd fnr a cask is vezzia. In the dialect of Brescia a small 

barrel i* vnoUt. The Romagnoles have vizol and vizuJ?n for 

iliffercnl barrels according to their size. 

f mezrul : This is an, abbreiiation for mexzuk (pi. muzuli). 

the definition by Carena {Vocabotarw DomeitUo), is a " square 
icrture. pretty Jarfie, made in one nf the ends of the CHsk^ fnr 
le facility pf more easily cleaning out the inside: it is made 
I shut with a folding door." 
l iulia : This would seem to be one of the two crcaccnt- 
H. DD 2 


420 Readings on the Inferno. Canto Xxvin. 

Com' LD vjdi uri) cobi nOn si pertugia^ 
Rotto dal Tnentn infin dave si trulla.: 
Tra ]e gambe pendevan le minugia ;* ^ 

La coratat pareva^ e il tristo saccD 
Che merda fa di quel che si trangugia. I 

Not even does a cask, from losing the middle or 
side board (of its head) yawn so wide, as one I saw 
cloven from the chin to where wind is voided : 
between his legs hia entrails were hanging down, 
the vitals were open to view, and the disgusting 
pouch (the belly) which makes excrement of what 
is gorged. 

Benvenuto thinks the meaning of these revoUing 
details is that whereas in a healthy body the purer 
part of the food passes to the liver for nourishment 
and health, the superfluous food being transferred to 
the intestines, in the case of Mahomet all that en- 
tered into his belly through his mouth was converted 
into feecal matter ] because all the doctrine that 
entered his mind produced horrible errors, which 
polluted and infected pretty nearly all the world. 

Dante's eyes are fascinated by the shocking sight : 

like pieces which are on the right and left of the middlc^ptcce 
of the htad of a cask. Di Siena thinks it is derived from 
lunuLi, as cuUa is derived from suna, 

* minugia : The inSeslincs, entrails. From (he L^lin minvtiM. 
The word is only u:^cd in the plural. In Tuscany mmi^'M is 
used to express Addle-strings, aa we might, in English, speak 
of " the gut." 

f La fitrttia : Camerini describes this as the ptricatUitim. 
Buti and others, ** the liver, hearty and Lunc».'* Lamennais 
observes ihal in some provinces of France, and more especially 
in Brittany, iottree is used in tht: same sense. Benvenuto h»a: 
" la (cfatiit sicut cor, cpar splen invicem li|;ata." 

X trangwgia : The Gran Dizionario says thai trungmf^rt nigai- 
fies to devour greedily, to swallow, with unseemly haste: 
** ingordamcnte inghiottirc." 


Canto XXVTil. Readings on the Inferno. 




but he has not seen the worst, for in a. frenzy of 
despair the shade of Mahomet clutches the gaping 
■wound with both hands, and rends open his very self. 
1-Ie tells Dante that he and his companions are all 


tMentre che lutJo in Jut veder m* attacco** 
Guardommi, e con le man s' aperse il petto, 
Dicendo : — " Or vedi come io mi dilacco : f 
Vedi come storpiato { e Maometto.f^ 
DJnanzi a me sen va piangendo Ali || 
FesBo nel volto da] mento al ciuffetto^ 
E tutti gli aUri che tu vedi qui» 
Seminator di scandaio e di scisma 
Fur, vivi ; e per6 son feasi coai. 

vVhile I turn all my attention to gaze upon hlm^ 
^_ he looked at me, and with his hands laid upon his 
^fe breast, saying: "Now aee how I rend myself: 

*m'aiiacco: Compare Virgil ^n. i, 495, where the expre^- 
voi) used IB very similar ; — 

" Dum stupel, obtutuque h*rct dcfixus in una" 
t mi dilaceo -' " Diiaccnrst, propriamente, tajjliare te lacche o 
Ic cosce, le lacchette [liie haunches] d' una beslia (I'y. to ham- 
&tring). Per cstensione, tacerarsi, sm^mhrtirsi." Blanc (I'of. 
Dtfnjr.). Di Stena thinks that from this passage, as well aK 
from II. 6l|'66, and from II. ioj-105, one may well believe that 
Dante had in his mind Virgil, j^n. vi, ^94-497 : — 
^^_ " Atque hie Priamiden laniatum corpore tolo 

^^V Delphobum vjdit, laccrum crudeJitcr ora, 

^^^^^ Ora manu»que ambas popuUtuquc tempora raptb 
^^^^^H Auribus, et truncas inhoncsto vulnere nares." 

^^^^wtorputto : Others read uuppiato, xccmpiatOi scipatc^ but s(i?r- 
piato ifl by far the moat general^ and the best authenticated 

g UaomtUo : It will be enough to mention about a character 
■o well known, that Mahomet was born at Mecca, a.d. 570, and 
died at Medina, a. v. 63J. 

II AU : Ali became the son-in-law of Mahomet by eapouatng 
hjs daUjF^hter Fatima, He reigned as Caliph from 655 to 661, 
when he periahcd by the hand <i( an as^aEiin. 


Readings on ike fnfcmo* Canto XXViii. 

see how mutilaled is Mahomet ! Before me, with 
hjs face cleft from the chin to the forelock, Ali 
goeti his way lamenting : and all the others that 
ihou seest here were in their life-time dissemina- 
tors of discord and of schism ; and therefore are 
they thus cleft asunder. 

It has been remarked that Mahomet endures his 
sufferings with the undaunted bearing of a brave 
-warrior, but ATi, who was only a preacher, lacks 
Mahomet's fortitude, and goes along weeping,* This 
disparagement however of All's courage is not borne 
out by histoi*y. Gibbon (Decline and Fall of the 
Roman Emplr^f ch, 50) thus speaks of Ali's character: 
" He united the qualifications of a poet, a soldier, and 
a saint : his wisdom still breathes in a collection of 
moral and religious sayings ; and every antagonist, 
in the combats of the tongue or of the sword» was 
subdued by his eloquence and valour/' Ali's only 
real crime would seem to have been that of allowing 
the three Caliphs, Abubeker, Omar, and Othman» to 
take possession in turn, before himself, of the throne 
to which, as Mahomet's son-in-law» he was justly 
entitled to succeed. He is only to be judged as 
a disseminator of religious discord in so far a,4 his 
friends and enemies alike make his name the point 
of cleavage in the Moslem Faith, which, as Gibbon 
says^ " is still maintained in the immortal hatred of 

*This contrast between Ali \^piangmiiv\ and Mahomet «bo 
appears to brave his doom, is singularly tike thai in l»/. 1 
between the haughty and undaunte^d Farinata and the timid 
and weeping Cavalcantc. ConlraHt also in Inf. xviii thf atlcmpit 
at self concealment on the part of Vcnedico Cacctanimico on 
the one hand, and on the other hand the attitude of Jason, who 
amid great suffering maintains the dignity of « king. 

'he Infei 

Canto Xxvnl. Readings on the Inferno, 4^^ 

the Persians and Turks. The former, who are 
lirandcd with the appellation of Shiites or sectaries, 
liave enriched the Mahometan creed with a new 
article of faith ; and if Mahomet be the apostle, his 
companion All is the vicar, of God. In their private 
converse, in their public worship, they bitterly exe- 
crate the three usurpers who intercepted his inde- 
feasible right to the dignity of Imam and Caliph ; 
and the name of Omar expresses in their tongue the 
perfect accomplishment of wickedness and impiety. 
The SanniteSf who are supported by the general 
consent and orthodox tradition of the Mussulmans, 
entertain a more imparliai, or at least a more decent 
opinion. They respect the memory of Abubeker, 
Omar. Othman and Ah, the holy and legitimate suc- 
cessors of the prophet. But they assign the last and 
the most humble place to the husband of Fatima, in 
the persuasion that the order of succession was deter- 
mined by the degrees of sanctity." 

Scartazzini points out that Dante has represented 
All with just that part of the bodj' severed which has 
been left entire to Mahomet, because Ali was credited 
with having been the author of a schism among the 
Mahometans themselves. Mahomet has his body 
^^scvered. because he sowed schism among nations ; 
^HAIi has his head divided, because he sowed schism 
principally among the heads of the Mahometan sect. 
In fact, as PkilaUthe^ remarks^ he caused a schism 
within a schism. 

Mahomet next explains to Dante the manner in 
which the shades are tormented. They have, as usual, 
to walk or run continually round and round the cir^ 

Readings on the Inferno, Canto XXVit 

cular ravine which forms tbe bottom of the Ninth 
Boi^ia, and extends for 2z miles (see next Canto). 
As they come to a certain point, they find a Demon 
standing in the midst, who deals to every one of them 
a blow with a two-edged sword. Each receives his 
wound, and passes on ; and by the lime they have 
circled round the Bolgia back to the place where the 
grim executioner awaits them, their wounds have 
entirely healed up, and they are ready to undergo 
fresh punishment. Benvenuto thinks the allegorical 
meaninj^ of this is, that the Schismatics are going up 
and down in the world sowing strife and dissensjbn, 
and that the Devil, by which is meant diabolical in- 
stigation, is ever plpng his sword, that is, the ton^e 
of calumny, which is sharp and inflicts the most 
terrible wounds, and as soon as any strife or discord 
may have been appeased, the Schismatics immedi- 
ately go to work to stir it up again, just as the 
Demon smites afresh the shades whose wounds have 
been just healed up. 

Un diavolo fc qua dietro che n' nccbma*' 
Si crudclmente, stl taglio della spada. 


* mchma : Nannucci [An&t, Crit, p, 31, note 3) explains 
uttismiirs as accottciare, the saTne as accfimodaret to adjust, »o 
much used in Tuscany among the lower cta&scs. For exaraple^ 
one may hear : " Ora, ore, I accomodo io ! " i.e. " Stop a bit, 
and you'JI see I'Ji give him a hot one I ** Nannucci dcriv«a 
tfffismrtrc from (he Provencal a((svwr^ adfustimttre^xo rcckoOf 
aim. We find in Ftrtthras^ ed. Bekkcr* 1636 ; tl sow toip Aitamsi^ 
aimed h)& blow wcll^ also aztrmaf^ sermar. From Ai4smMr is 
Old French affiwrr, to sd in order of battle; Old Genoese 
aci'snwr. Hcncc fls Donkin {I^tjtn. Diet. s.v. estnar) Miys, wc 
get Dante's a^cifmart., to set to righta, also aitimarf, Sp. ««viiir, 
to adorn. 

Snt^xkvin. Readings on the In/ernd, 



Rimeitendo * ciascun dj questa risma + 
Quando avem \. vojta ta dolente strada. ; 40 

Perocch* Ic ferite son richiuae 
Prima ch' altri dinan^i gli rjvada. 

A devil is here behind who serves us bo cruelly, 
putting again to the edge of the sword each one of 
thi$ band {iU. ream of paper), when we have com- 
pleted the circle of the path of anguish {i.e. of the 
Bolgia) : inasmuch as the wounds are closed up 
again ere any paBs once more before him. 

Mahomet's attentiori is now arrested, on noticing 
that Dante has not moved from his position on the 
summit of the arch of the bridge. He imagines that 

* RinutUndoy rickiuEt zt\A rivada are all intended to express 
the continual repetition of the round of torment* The shades 
ire agatn put to the sword each time they come again round to 
the executioner ; and rach tinie they do so with wounds again 
closed up. The reduplicati\'e ri is in these words meant to 
have e^rcat force ; but it must not on that accoaut be assumed 
that aii words beginning with ri arc either iterative or intensive. 
For instance the verb vispUndrre has no such force, being simply 
a synonvm of if>Utniers, as I was assured by Professor Scherillo. 

t risma is literally a ream of paper, but is used here in the 
•cnsc of multitude. The Gran Dhionario says: *'Oggidi una 
Hiirta ^ono ottantacinque quaderni di cinque fogli V uno . . , 
[anche] per quantity grandc indcterminata di fogli. . . . B 
anche di ecnte, ma in mal senso." Tommas^o remarks that 
the Demon cuts the sinners like a ream of sheets in the huf^c 
volume of HcU. Compare Par. xji, 131-123, where the Order 
of St. Francis is spoken of as a volume composed of many 
pagrs^ by which are meant the Friars:— 

" Ben dicD, chi cercaase a foglio a foglio 
Nostro volume, ancor troveria carta 
U' IcKgerebbe : ' lo mi son quel ch" to soglio,'" 

laptm was in the time of Dante, and should by rights still 
Continue lo be the primitive and regular inflexion of the verb 
avert instead of the modern iormabbiumo. In the earlv writcra 
we find continually vedemo fnr veitianut ; sema for siam<f ; voUmo 
for tfogimm(\ etc. See Nannucci, Anat, Crit. pp. 93 <t sry. 
Avtmo is still in use among the Venetians. We find avtm in 
Fravenfal, and avemos in Spanish^ 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto >L3£ViiU 

Dante is tarrjnn^ there in the vain hope of post- 
poning the torment which must surely befall him. 
VirgiK however, who never fails to reply for Dante 
when the answer would seem to reflect praise upon 
him, does so again now. 

Ma tu chi St' che in buIIo scoglio muse,* 
Forse per indugiar d' ire alia pcna, 
Ch' ft giudicata in sulle tue accuse ? " — t 
— '* N£ morte il giunse ancor, n4 colpa tl mena," 
RispDse il mio Maestro, — '* a tormentarlo ; 
Ma per dar lui csperienzaj plena, 
A me, chc morto son, convicn menarlo 

Per lo inferno quaggii di giro in giro ; § 
E questo i ver cost com* 10 li parlo." — 

+ 3 


* muse (for mimsi) : Nannucci {Anal. Crit. p. 6), note t) says 
that THUsarf is, tn its proper senses to keep or hold the coun- 
tenance Axed on any particular f^pot, hence, to look fixedly. 
He quotes the following from the Ritrtutrt dt L% Rest : — 
" Tout ainsi vous dis-jc pour voir 
Que Ic chstal, sans dc^evoir 
Tout I'estre du vernier accuse 
A cclui, qui dedans I'cauc muse/' 
Nannucci explains this last line: 'Mo him who ^a^c& fixedly 
into the water." He devotes two pages (63, 64, lootnatcji to 
the discussion of the word m»sar€. Compare Macchiavclli, 
Asino if Om* cap vii : — 

" Puco piu ]k certi animai disfattt, 

Qual cada non aveaj qual non orecchi, 
Vidi musando starsi quatti quatti." 
igimiieaia in suHe tuc anusi : Compare In/, v, 7-10: — 
" Dico, chc quando V anima mal nata 

Li vien dinanxi, totta si confeasa; 
H quel conoscitor dalte peccata 
Vede qual locn d' inferno i; da cssa." 
Xpt-r dar lui gsptrUnta^ etc. 1 Camparc Purg. lout, ij^t^JS^ 
also inf, xvii, 37-39^— 

**. . . * Accioccht^ tutta piena 

Espcricn7a d' esto glron porti,' 
Mi diisc, 'VB, c vcdi !a lor mcna.' " 
§ di gira in giro ; Compare (n/. x. 4, 5 ; — 
*' virtii somma, chc per gli «mpt ciri 
Mi volvi." 

Canto XTCViiI, Readings on the Inferno, 


But who art thou up on the bridge there who art 
gazing so intently ; perchance in order to delay 
going to the punishment that has been adjudged 
(to thee by Minos) on thine own self-accuaatioiis ? " 
*' Neither has death yet overtaken him," answered 
my Master, '* nor does guilt bring him here to 
torment him ; but, in order to give him full ex- 
perience^ it is the doty of mCf who am dead, to 
lead him down here throughout Hell from Circle 
to Circlet ^nd this is as true as that I am speaking 
to thee," 

The effect of Virgil's words is to bring to a stand- 
still the whole multitude of shades that are moving 
onward to their constant round of torment 

P'kH Fur di cento ''^ che, quando V udiro, 
S' arrestaron ncl fosso a. riguardarmi 
Per mstraviglia obbUando it martlro.t 

* Piu/ur di ctnto ; By this I9 mtant alarge and indeterminate 
number. The yofabolnrio dtlla Crasia [cd- Manu/zi) S-V. 
ffnto, Ji 1 says: '* Per numero indeterminalD, rifercntc gran 
quantitft.'^ Compare /«/. xxv, 31-33: — 
" Ondc cesaar le sue opere biecc 

Sotto la ma2za d' Ercolc, che farse 
Gliene di^ ccnto^ e non senti Ic diece." 
And Petrarch, Part II. Son, 22 (or in some editions 249) r — 

**0 speranza, o desir sempre faHlacc, 
I E degli amanti piu ben per un cento I " 

f^amstaron ttrl fosso . . . obbiiando il martiro : Throughout 
the tnfttnv and the Purgalorio we notice ihe irrepressible 
wonder of the apirila when they first become aware of Danle 
being a living being, ]n Iti/. xJi, Bo-&2t Chiron says to th^ 
other Centaurs:— 

^'Siete voi accorti, 
Che quel di: retro move ci6 ch' ei tocca? 
Cosi non soglion fare i pii de' morli." 
In Purg. ii, 67-75, til* newly arrived spirits are awe-struck at 
seeing Dante breathe :— 

" L' anime che si fur di me aqcorte, 

Per lo spirare, ch' io era ancor vivo, 
Maravigliando dii>entaro amorte ; 


Headings on the Inferno. Canto xXViiI. 

More than a hundred there were, who, when they 
heard him. stopped in the fosse to look at nrie» for- 
getting the torment in their wonder 

Benvenuto finds a moral in this, and thinks Dan 
means that when disseminators of discord see and 
listen to a wise man, they are corrected by his per- 
suasion, and consequently forfjet to go to their tor- 
ment, for where the sin is, there is the penalty; and 
this in truth must (Benvenuto thinks) have occurred 
to some, when they read this noble Canto. 

Dante now puts into the mouth of Mahomet a 
prophecy as to the fate of a certain religious impos- 
tor named Fra Dolcino. Mahomet is supposed 
(according to the assumed date of Dante's \-ision) to 
be speaking in 1300, and, as it is 3 kno\^-n fact that 
Fra Dolcino was put to death in 1307, wi art Ml t9 
deierttnnt the date before whitk this Canto was mitt 
written. This is a most important referencCv 

Benvenuto relates the storj^ of Fra Dotcino at 
great length, telling his readers that he had acquired 
a good many tales of his life and death from the 
nephew of Maestro Kainaldo da Bergamo, who wms 
Fra Dolcino's medical adviser* He says that dtuing 

E come a mestaggier, chc porta olivo 
Traggc la genSe per udir novcllc, 
£ di calcar ncsaun si mostn schivo; 
Cosi al viso mio h' aftiss^r quelle 
Anime fortunAtc tutte e quame, 

Quasi obbliando d* ire a farai belle." 

And in Purg, m, 88-91, ^^^ spirits draw back in wonder at the 
sight of Pantc'a shadow :— 

" Come color djriEinji vjder rotta 

La luce in terra dal fnin destro canto, 
SI che r ombra era da me alia grotta, 
RcaUro, e Irayser s^ in relro alquanto.*' 

Caoto XXVIII. Readings on the Inferno. 




the Papacy of Boniface VIII, just about the time 
that Dante was commencing the Sacred Poem, there 
arose in Lombardy an evil schism, that would have 
become pernicious had it not been quickly stamped 
out. Its author was one Fra Dqlcino, a native of 
*he region near Novara. He was brought up and 
educated by a priest at Vercelli» where from natural 
aptitude, he attained to f^reat proficiency in his 
studies; but in &pite of the popularity which the 
«harm of his manners and the grace of his person 
acquired for him, his innate depravity was not long 
in showing itself. He stole some money from his 
lienefactor, and artfully contrived at first to let the 
priest*s suspicion fall upon his servant, but being 
Umself accused by the innocent man^ and dreading 
the torture, he escaped, and took refuge in the city 
«f Trent. Then having donned the garb of a Friar, 
lie began to found a sect among the ignorant and 
^redutous population of the surrounding mountains, 
"preaching that he was a true apostle of God, and 
that community of goods, wives and possessions was 
duty incumbent on all. The Bishop of Trent, 
Ustly alarmed lest his whole diocese should be cor- 
ptcd, drove him out of the district ; but reminis- 
cences of him still existed in that neighbourhood so 
late as 1375. Fra Dolctno then passed successively 
through the mountain regions of Brescia, Bergamo» 
Coma and Milan, collecting round him in his passage 
an increasing multitude of adherents^ until at length 
he found himself constrained by superior forces to 
return to his native country, where he finally took 
up a position on a high mountain between Novara 


Readings mi Ihc Inferno. Canto XXVI14. 

and VercelH. Amonj^ the 3,000 robust youn^; men 
who followed him there, were some of noble birth 
and great wealth, attracted by a creed which allowed 
them unbridled scope for the i^ratification of all 
temptations. Besides this it seems that there was a 
soft persuasiveness about Fra Dolcino's eloquence, ■ 
which so bound men to him, that when once the>' 
had joined him they never could give him up. A 
crusade was now preached against Fra Dotcino and 
his heresy; and many crusaders {cru^csipiAti) came. 
not only from the whole of Cisalpine Gaul, but even 
from Transalpine Gaul, from Vienne, Savoy, Pro- 
vence and France. The widows of Genoa sent 400 
cross bow-men {buUsiarws} : the mountain was be- 
sieged, all kinds of siege implements of war were 
employed. The heretics defended themselves with 
all the courage of despair* but after a siege of a year 
and a day, during which they were reduced to the 
greatest straits of famine, the snow impeding them 
from gathering any produce from the hill-sides^ or 
obtaining any provisions, the mountain fortress was 
at length taken. Fra Dolcino and his paramour, 
Margaret, an exceedingly beautiful and rich lady of 
Trent^ were captured, and after the most frightful 
tortures were burned to death, some say at Vercelli, 
others at Novara, on the 2nd June, 1307. 

Benvenuto remarks of Fra Dolcino's name, that it 
was Noin^n conveniens sibi, quasi dukia venena propin- 

Mahomet then— as an afterthought, just as he was 
actually stepping away to go through another round 
of torment — utters a prophetic warning, addressed to 


Canto xxvti[. Readings on the Inferno. 



Fra Dolcino, to the effect that unless he provide a 
great store of provisions for himself and his followers, 
his impregnable position will be assuredly reduced by 
famine, that Fra Dolcino will himself be put to death, 
and after death subjected to the same penalty which 
is being undergone by Mahomet. 

—"Or di' a Fra Dolcin dunque che s* armj, 55 

Tu che forse vedrai lo sole in breve, 
S' cgli non vuo] qui tosto seguitarmi, 
Si di vivanda che streUa di neve * 
Non fcchi la viKoria al Noarese, 
Ch' altrimenti acquistar non saria licvc." — 60 
Poi che I' un pid t per girscnc sospcse, 
Maomctto mi disse eata parola, 
Indi a partirsi in terra Lo dtstese. 

** Now say then to Fra Dolcino, thou who per- 
chance wilt shortly see the Sun, unless he wishes 
speedily lo foJIow me here, so to arm himself with 
supplies^ that an excessive fall of snow may not 
bring the victory to them of Novara, which (vic- 
tory) it would otherwise not be easy for them lo 
^^ win." Mahomet spake these words to me after 
^B that he had lifted one foot to ^o his way, then to 
^H depart he extended it on the ground. 

^H The question will naturally occur : Why should 

[ Mahomet be so solicitous for the escape of Fra 

I Dolcino. a man living many centuries after his death, 

and with whom he could have no possible concern ? 

Besides this, we know that any feeling of compassion 

* ttrttia di mve : An idiom. See Gran Disitmano s.v. stretta, 
^ 21: "Strata di neve. Abbondanza di ncvc caduta, si che 
rcsti impcdito 11 passa^r^io, il camminn.'^ 

t Poi ih/ V un ^iVj etc, : Ciiaini explains that Mahomtt spoke 
Vhrse (ait words in a Rreat hurry. Ht had already lifted one 
^sf his feet to wend his way^ and lipoke with that foot off the 
Iground. As soon as he had finished the sentence, he com- 
pleted the first pace and went off. 


Readings on the Injerno. Canto xxviii. 

for the sufferings of others is an emotion of which 
the souls of the lost in the Hell of Dante are totally 
devoid. The answer is to be found, Benvenuto 
thinks, in MahomctV malignant hatred of the 
Christian Church, the chief seat of which was slill 
in Italy, though shortly to be transferred to France 
{quia adhnc curia crat in Italia, licet cito reccssura). If 
therefore Mahomet could by any means prevent the 
heresy of Fra Dolcino from being: stamped out. he 
would have j;;ood hope that it would spread through- 
out Italy; and Benvenuto remarks that in truth Fra 
Dolcino's heresy was one that aped Mahomet's (^uio- 
vere Dulcintis fuit simia Macotnethi), 



Division III. — Up to now Dante has been describe 
ing the sufferings of the disseminators of schisms in 
religion. He now passes on to speak of those who 
sowed the seeds of political discord. Chief among 
these is Pier da Medicina, to whom was due the 
continuance of the feud between the houses of the 
Polenta and the Malatesta. Curio is also introduced, 
who is inaccurately credited with having been the per- 1 
son to encourage Julius Caesar to cross the Rubicon* 

Benvenuto asks his readers to picture the sort of 
mischief made by Pier da Medicina somewhat aal 
follows: "If perchance Pier da Medicina happetiedl 
to hear that the Lord Malatesta of Rimini were pur-i 
posing to contract an alliance with the Lord Guide 
of Ravenna, the said Pietro would as it wtre by' 
accident get hold of some servant of the hoase of| 
Malatesta, and with great earnestness would ask' 
him : ' How fares it with my lord ? ' and then after 

^anlo XSVIIL Readings on ike Inferno. 


^ long confabulation, would &ay to him in conclusion : 
^ Pray bid the Lord Nfalatesta send me some faithful 
emissary, to whom I can communicate^as to his very 
■5self, matters that must not be divulged in public/ 
-And were such an emissary to be sent, Pietro would 
^ay to him : ' Observe, my good sir, right unwillingly 
<do I disclose what I ought in honour to conceal ; 
*nly the sincere affection which I bear to my good 
Lord Malatesta forbids me to dissimulate longer. 
Let the Lord Malatesta beware of the Lord of 
Ravenna, or he may find himself deceived/ The 
messenger would straightway carry this information 
to his master ; and meanwhile Pietro would be off 
ivith the same false pretence to the Lord Guido of 
Ravenna, entreating him to beware of him of Rimini. 
Then the Lord Malatesta, being rendered suspicious 
by Pietro's words, would begin to act with less con- 
sideration towards the Lord Guido, and even to 
>'ithdraw from what he had undertaken to perform. 
Then the Lord Guido, on turning this over in his 
mind, would say : " In sooth, Pietro da Medicina 
told me the truth about this ! ' And on the other 
hand, the Lord Malatesta would make a simitar 

" Then each in turn being duped, would send Pietro 
horses, jewels^ and rich gifts, and would treat him 
each as his friend, when in reality he was their enemy 
po?>bessing their confidence, than which no pest avails 
more to do injury, as Boethius says,* Do not marvel 
then if Dante introduces this man with great art/' 

♦Benvcnuto docs not ^'\\c ihc reference in Boethius, but 
pcrh&pBi the fttlusionix to i'Jiihs. Cannot. i\. Pros, v, 47-51 : ^' An 




Readings on the Inferno. Canto xSvT 

Un altro,* che forata avca la gola 

E troTico il naso f infin sotto Ic ciglJo, 65 

E non avea ma^ ch' Uh' orecchia sola, 

RestBto a riguardar per mAra.viglta ^ 

Con g[i altri, innansi agli altrj (j apH la canna 
Ch* era di fuor d' ogni parte vcrmiglia ; 

E disse: — *'Tu, cui coLpa non cnndanna, 70 

E ctii io vidi su In terra LatJna, 
Se troppa siTniglianza non m' inganna, 

Rimcnibriti di Pier da Mcdicina, || 

Se mai tDmi a veder \o dolce piand, 
Che da Vcrcelli a Marcabd dichina. 

vero te longus ordn famulorum facit esse felicem ? qui si 
vltiosL itioribiis sint, permicicisa domus sarcina ei ipsi domino 
vehennenter inimica: sin vcro probi, quonam modo in tuis 
opibus aiiena probitas numerabitur ?" 

* Un itiiro : The description of the mutilated appearance of 
this shade closely resembles that of Deiophobut by Virgil, 
jEtt^ vij 494-497. Sec p. 421. 

'ifafifta ia guia e tnmco Unaso^' Pier da Medicina is. pierced 
through the throat, from which issued so m,any \\tf^\. he haa 
been deprived of the nose he was so fond of thrusting into 
other people's affairs; and he is represented with one ear only, 
as he did not use both lo listen to the evil and the good and to 
distinguish between them ;^ and thus maimed and diBfigurcd 
he appears in hi& torment as repulsive an object, as in his life 
he had appeared insidiously attractive and handsome. 

I Reitato ti riguardar per maravigUa ; Compare Vir£. ^n, vi, 

'' Nee vidisse scmel BatiB est : juvat usque morarL 
Et confcrre gradum, et vcniendi discere causat. 

^ iffrtanji agli altri : Di Siena thinks this^ means ^rim _ 
ailri in the sense q[ f>r€C(tJfnta 4t urado^ rather than priority in 
point of time. None of the shades in Piero's company are 
made to speak; and ^'e know that Dante only professes to 
give heed to the anime chi son dtjama n<ite.{Paf. xvii, 138). 

\\Pier da Mfdkina belonged to ihe noble famity ofiheCatlaai 
of Medicina, of which family there was a branch at Florence, 
whom Vjllani slates to have been Ghibclhnes. Benvenuto 
says thai Medicina is a considerable and thriving town {vtUm 
ffftwsij /tpiHgxih) between Bologna and imola ; is a lemtory of 
itself, and in oldcif time had a strong crtadcL A long Uoe of 

Canto XXVIII. Rtadin^s on tin: Inferno. 


Another, who had his throat pierced through and 
his nose cut off close under his eyebrows, and no 
more than one single ear (left), having stopped to 
gaze at us in wonder with the others, before the 
others opened his gullet, which on the outside was 
crimsoned all over, and said r *' O thou, whom 
guilt docs not condemn, and whom I have seen 
up above in the land of Italy, unless too great a 
resemblance deceive me, call to mind Pier da 
Medicina^ if ever thou return to see the smiling' 
plain that slopes from Vercelli to Marcabo. 

The great plairi of Lombardy slopes for more than 
:20O miles from Vercelli, a city on the River Sesia at 
the foot of the Alps, in the extreme West of Pied- 
TTiont, as far as Marcab6, a castle built in the terri- 
lory of Ravenna near the mouth of the River Po, 
Benvenuto adds that this castle was built by the 
Venetians, for the purpose of keeping the navigation 
of the river in their power, so that all cargoes enter- 
ing the Po from the sea might pass through their 
hands. But the castle was taken from them by 
Rambcrto da Polenta and destroyed in 1308. 

The Anonimo Fiorcntino notices that Dante now 
proceeds to link on the above episode to that which 
follows with a certain poetical licence, and " touch- 
ing on a matter that had already taken place, he 
represents it as a prophecy of a fact about to happen,* 

"^ht Cattiini held swuy there, of whom none remained however 
in Hcnvcnuta'& day, Dante wa^ said to have been entertained 
">rith much honour by them on one occasion when he visited 
"Vhirir palace ; and when asked what he thought of that courts 
to have replied that he had never seen a fairer one in al) 

Romagna* tf only there had been in it a particle of order. 
* Dr. Moore docs not feel certain as to the coffectne&a 0^ 

this view on the part of the Ammimw FiortniiHO^ 


BE 2 


Rfadin^ on the Infimry. Canto xxvttT, 

The facts were these : Messer Guido da Fano and 
Messer A^nolello were the two chief personages in 
FanOi of which city Messer Malateslinode' Malatesti, 
who was lord of Rimini, coveted the pos3C*}sion ; and 
while pretending to be the friend of Messer Guide 
and Messer Agnolello, thought within himself that 
if he could only slay these two principal men of ■ 
Fano, he could make himself master of the place. 
and so it turned out. He wrote to beg them to come 
and meet him at La Cattolica, a place between I 
Rimini and Fano, as he wished to confer with them. 
They, in all confidence, embarked in a \^ssel to come 
there by sea: but Messer Malatcstino caused a num- 
ber of his men to meet them half way in another 
vessel; and in accordance with the orders he had 
given ihem, they took Messed Guido and Agjnolo 
and cast them into the sea .; the consequence of 
which was that their partisans in Fano, having lost 
their chiefs, were driven out of the city, which 
eventually fell into the hands of Messer Malatestino." 

E fa saper at due niiglior di Fano * 

A messer Guido ed anco ad Angiolello t 

* iuiKo : A towr^ situated on the coast nf the Adriatic* n«l far 
frnm the river Metauro, about nine miles (rom Fewaro, aod 
thirty from Uimini. The ancient name of it w-ai> l-jinum For- 
tunacj sn given tn it from a temple of Fortune having been 
erected there tn commemorate the dcieal of Hasdrufaal on the 
Mctaurus (bx. 207). In Piirf^. v, 71, Jatopu del Cassera en- 
treats Dante to be the medium for obtaininj; intcrces»»omi for 
him by his fellow ci1ifen» in I'ano. Jacopo del Casscro <*as 
proba&ly a relation of Guido. 

•f messer GuiJo eJ . . . AngMUih: These were Guido del 
Cflssero, and Angiolcllo. A^nolello^ or Angclello da Cftgnano, 
or, according to sonic, da Carignano. 


Canto xxviK. Readings on the hifenio. 


Che, 5c r antiveder* qui non & vano. + 
Gittati saran fuor di Jar vascllo.J 

E mazzeraii ^ pressa alia Caltolicu, 
Per Iradimetno d* un tiranno fcllo. 
Tra r isola di Ciprt c di Maiolica || 



, de&i 

*s£ r iintivfdir^ c£ scq. : The sentence may be cjcplained thus: 
^il vcdcr innan^i Ic cose future, qui in inft rno non £ vanocome 
suot cascr tra c^li nDmini." And the meaning of the passage i& 
thai Pier da Mcdicina asserts that the Inresi^ht of the lost in 
Hell is true and correct, as Fartnata degU Ubertt informed 
Uantc in in/, x, lOo, loi : — 

"* Noi veggiam, come quei ch' ha mala luce, 
Lc cose,' disse^ ' chc ne son lontano.' " 

fvdno: TointTnas^o{ofieof the authors of the Gran Dhionano) 
says that vanu here in equivalent to /also, 

J piticlio ■ We find the same word (for vascitlo, a ship) used to 
de&crilH' the vessel in which the Angel Pilot ia conveying the 

.Is to PuT^Atary. See Pur^. it, 40, 41 :— 
. . , e que) sen vcnne a riva 

Con un vascllo snclletto e Je^i^iero," etc. 
Some Commentators have wished to attach a figurative meaning 
to vastth. Volpi Kays: '' Figuratamente pur cilti, palria/' 
Landino, Vcnlurj and Vcllulelln interpret: " Le animc loro 
saranno caccialc fuuf del corpo ; il qual £ ^dmt va^scILn 
dell' anima.^' 

|i tnazz(ratf : " Maizcrare t gittar V uomo in mare in un saccn 
legato con una pt^etra grandc; o legate Ic mani, e i picdi, e con 
un grandc sasao al tollo," {Buti). The Vmahoiario dciia 
CViiWrf, besides giving the abrnt quotation from Uuti^ gives 
the Latin of maz.xtTarc au "in cuico inculium in mare pro- 
jiccre." The word occurs several times in the Lhcatueron of 
BoccActto. In the AnHot4ixiii!ti iohni nUiini Utoghi dii Dectimentnc 
faiti dai Dtputiiti so^ra hi cofreitouf di tssn Bucatccio, Firenjie, 
157J, p. 71, wc find : *' Sfuzx^rare 4 voce nostra, ha gii piu di 
trecento anni^ c (u usata da Dante in quusto proposito appunto, 
cd era sl* noittri antichi, c in quel tempi una soria di suppHcio^ 
c ne avcvano alcuni iiUri, de' quali ugyj appcna si ricono- 

:00a i nnmi, contc il piantarc o propagginare [to bury nUve 
with the haui (ff'K'ffu'iiJ-Js], e V abbacinare Uo hlind hy cxptmn^ 
iht ryes ia i/u hcut 0/ u red fiut hiuun vci^tt]" Di Siena thinks 
that maturarc is derived from mazxen^ the stones attached to 
the nctFi in the tunny fisheries in the South of Italy; and in 

labrta the weights of a clock are called i7unun. 

i| Tra r isola di Cipri e Ji Maiotica : Cyprus ia the uaatcrn- 


Readings on the Jnftmo. Canto xxvrii. 

Non vide mai si g;ran fallo NeUuno, 
Non da plrati, non da gente Argoltcsu* 

Quel traditor che vede pur con I' uno, 
E tieii la terra, t che tat £ qui mcco 
Vorrebbe di vedere esser dtgtuno, J 

FarA venirli a parlarnento aeco ; 

Poi fark si che al vento di Focara § 
Non fari lor mcstier voto ni prcco." — 

most nf the large inlands of the Mediterranean, and Majorca 
the westernmost, Dante means the extreme limits of the 
Mediterranean Sea, 

* ffente ArgoUca : The Greeks in all ages have been noted for 
piracy. " MoJti e crttdcli mali sono stali fatti e si fanno ncl 
mare mcditerraneo per corsar! di diverse generBzioni c lin^^uc. 
e per Greci, e per Latini, e per Cristiani, e p^r Saracini.* (The 
Otthw). Bargigi thinks the allusion to the Greeks merely 
refers to their many sea fights : " Gente Argotica, Greca, chc 
molte grandissimc battaglie fecero in mare,'^ 

t tien la terra : The verb Unere is here used in the sense of 
posscdirtt signoreggiart. Compare Inf. v, 60: — 

" Tenne la terra, chc il Soldan corregge." 
And fir/, xxix, ag ; — 

"... colui chc gii tenne Altafarte." 
Also Virgil, ^n. vii, 735 : — 

"... Teleboiim Caprcae cum regna tenereL' 
Tommas^o thinks that tienla terra should be micrpreted ^ 
la terrttt and I have loDowed him by rendering the words 
the land." 

X Vorrebfit di vtciere fssrr digiuno ; Compare Inf. xvm, 4a: — 
" Di giA vedcr crostu) non son digJuno." 
And see tny note on that passage. 

^ vento di Fivara : Benvenuto says that Fmrara is a High 
mountain near La Cattolica, towering right over the sea, where 
great storms frequently occur, and terrible shipwrecks: which 
cause navigators to proffer many \gw5 and prajtr^L Hence it 
has become a proverb to say : ^' May God protect you there 
from the wind of Focara! " Benvenuto thinkit that what Pier 
really means i5> that it is not by any mischance, or by divine 
judgment, that these two good men of Fano shall perish in the 
waves, but that they shall be drowned by the fraud of evil men. 
Jn point of fact it will not avail them to offer up the usual vow» 
and prayers such as are ustd by mariners, because they will be 
drowned anyhow, and not from a storm. 


<2anto xxviH. Readings on the Inferno. 


And make known to the two best men of Fano, 
to Messer Guido (del Casseroj and likewise tt> 
Angiolello (da Ca^nano), that if foreseeing here in 
Hell be not vain, they shall be thrown overboard 
from their vessel, and drowned near La Cattolica, 
through the perfidy of a fell tyrant. Between the 
island of Cyprus and (that of) Majorca never did 
Neptune behold so atrocious a crime, not even 
of pirates or of the Argolic race. That Uaitor 
(Malatestino) who sees with but one eye, and rules 
the city (Rimini), which somebody who is here with 
me (Curto) would wish he had never seen {lit. 
had been fasting^ of seeing), will induce them 
(Guido and Angiolello) to come to a parley with 
htm ; and then will so act that they shall no longer 
need vows or prayers against the wind of Focara." 

Benvenuto is of opinion that we have many in- 
stances in history of the wonderful astuteness of 
one-eyed men, Hannibal and Philip of Macedon 
were of the number, and Malateslino was no excep- 
tion to the rule. If any one attempted to say to him, 
" My Lord» you do not understand me," he used to 
retort, *' I would I could see as well as I under- 
stand \ " But these one-eyed men were all very 
long-headed men {sanum caput kabuerunt communiUr), 
The thing can be explained, Benvenuto thinks, in a 
moral sense ipotist exponi iiia iiicni moraliter) ; for 
when a man has two eyes in the natural way, one of 
which he ought to direct towards heavenly things, 
and the other to terrestrial, if that man loses his 
btsX eye, he will then only turn his ga^e to earthly 

Dante does not allow Pier da Medicina's covert 
allusion to another spirit to escape unnoticed, but a,t 
QDce asks him to whom he is referring. 


Readitigs ott the Inferno, Canjo XXViiL 

Ed io a lui :— " Dimostramt c dlchiara, 
Se vuoi ch' \q porti su di te novella,* 
Chi h coiui della vcduta + airiara.'*— 

AiSor pose la mano alia mascella 

D' un &U0 compai^no. c la bocca gli apene 
GHdando: — *' Questi e dcsso^ c non favetia : 

Qucsti, scacctalo.J il dubilar sommer&c 
In Cessire, afftrrmando che il fomtto ^ 

* Porti , . , novdia : We have already nntice*^, m a footnote 
on Inf. ij, 7, the story told by Boccaccio iri his life of Dante, 
of how a woTTiaTi at Verona said to another on seeing Dante 
pass by: "^-Vedete voi colui che va per I' Infernns, c toma 
quando a lui piace, c qaa&sj\ rtta novetU di quellt che laegiu 
Bono ? "" 

f£(>ltd dilla vcduta aitmra : Di Siena paraphrases thJB : *' Chi 
^ colui che icsti [jtiit now] diccsti male aver veduta la Icm di 
Rtmini la quale gli ponb amari Irutti di dannafione ? " 

I scacciitlo : In Lucan, Pkan. i, 277-2751, Curio is represented 
as saying ta Caesar : — 

" Scd postquam leges bcUo ::!.ilucre coactae, 

Pellimura patnis taribu^, patimurque volcntcs 

Exiiium : lua nos faciat victoria cives." 
1^ it fornito: Dr Moore (Sttui^cs in Dante, t, p. siSl observes 
that this aUusion to Curio is borrowed from Lucan, Pfmri, 14 
280-283 :— 

" Dum trepidant nullrt firmatac robore partesi, 

Tollc moras; semper nocuit diffrrrc parati& ; 

Par labor atquc metiis pretio majore pctunlur." 
This is further proved if necessary- (Dr. Moore adds)bv Dante** 
direct citation of this passage in reference to Curto in his 
Epislle to Henry Vll, Epist. vU, \ 4, 11 74*81: *' Pudcat 
itaque in an^ustiissima mundi area irrctiri tamdiu, quern mun- 
du?i omnis cxpcctat ; ct ab August! circumspccttoine non deAuat, 
quod Tuscana lyrannis in dilationii^ fiducta cnnfortntur^ et 
quotidie mali^nantium cohoftando supcrbiam, virc* novas ac* 
cumulflt, temeritatem temeritati adtcienb.'' Dr. M-i .rVt 

that Lucan was a poet widely l.rni\vn and very < !td 

by medisrvfll writers generally; and that Oiiiitc At 

not only refers to him frequently b^ name, hut i-- 10 

him far many of his historical (illuBionis as well u . . . _ .;a- 
aidtrablcamoiint of pnctif material of riitTercnt kinds, In Oioo 
Compapni, 7.' IntHUg^nsa, Cai^nitl /?«/ijVunr, stanias ooand 01. 
we find the following : — 

Canto xxviiL Readings on the Inferfw. 441 

Jjempre con dannq V atlcndcr sofTcrst;."^* 
O qua^nto mi pareva sbi^ottito lOO 

Con la lingua tagliata nelLa stro^za, 
Curio, ch* a dire fu cosi ardito ! t 

And I to him : *' Show to me and declare, if thou 
wishcst me to carry tidinj^s of ihee up (on earth), 
who is he of the bitter sight [i.e. the shade who 
wishes he had never seen the city of Rimini) ? " 
Thcni h€ laid his hand upon the jaw of one of his 
companions, and pulled open his mouth, crying : 



"Curio trcbuno parlft primieri, 
E disse : * lo son per le di Roma fuora : 
Nostra franchigia d neLla tua speranza: 
Cavatca^ Cesar, sanza dimaranza : 
1 tuoi rtcmici nofi avranno dura.' 
Cesart, intalentato di battagLia 

Parlamento c dis!>e a' budi : lontani 
' Per mc soffert' a%-ete gran iravapJia 
A conquJBtar molti paesi strani.'" 

• Stmptc con damw I' titUrnkt stiffen.^ : Dr. Moore tcNs me he 
thinks ii(iffcr$£ seems to be an abrisl with the SL-nsc of the 
present tense. 1 see Mr. Tozer Jfanslates " if he endures to 
wail," and thinks the words are a paraphrase oi LMc&u^sumffcr 
notuit abc»vc. In Pur^. xxxii, jj, j^, the passage: tunio spauo 
pteii is rendertd by Mr. Tozer *' is wont to measure so much 
space; " and in Par. lii^ 9. he renders quel cli' ci refuse-, "the 
light which it gives by reflection," 

f Curio , , , a tiire . , . ardito: This again is imitated from 
Lucan, Phars. i, jfiy ; — 

'^Auda.x venal] comitatur Curio lingua." 
Caiiis Scribanius Curio was the son and the grandson of two 
,t orators of Iht same name, ll is asserted that, having 
ipoused thv cauftc of Pompty, he was won over by Caifiar 
lieavy bribes. When a decree was published by the 
c declaring C*ei»ar to be the enemy of the KepubUc, un* 
]e8!t he immediately disbanded his army and evacuated the 
province of i'J:a\'enna, Curio hastened to join Cx^ar, and accord- 
ing tn Lucan. ur^cd upon him decisive action. But thi^! would 
ueem tn be a whoHy untrue account, a& Caesar had already 
oiscdtlie Rubicon u hen Curio reuthcd his camp. Dr. Moore 
marks lo me that it is curious that this advice of Curio i:ii 
cited with approbation tn EpUt. vii, g 4, 


Readings on the Inferno. Canlo xxviit. 

•' This is he, and he is speechless : he, when 
banished (from Rome) dispelled the hesitation in 
Caesar (about crossing the Kubicon)^ affirming that 
the man who is well-prepared alwa^'s suflTers Joss 
by procrastination/' Oh ! how aghast seemicd to 
me Cufio, with his tongue cut out of his throat, 
he who had been so bold in speech 1 

Benvenuto reminds his readers that Pier da 
Medicina had at the beginning of the interview said, 
Rimembriti di Pier da Medicina^ by which he meant 
that he wanted Dante to speak of him in the world 
when he returned there.* Dante answers that if he is 
expected to do so^ Pier must tell him what he meant 
by speaking of some one with him who wishes that 
he had never seen Rimini. Benvenuto thinks Dante 
has shown great art in making Pier da Medicina, 
after abusing and defaming the character of his em- 
ployer, Malatestino, the modern and still living 
tyrant of Rimini, bring in at the same time an 
ancient personage who sowed discord that was most 
fatal to that same city in which Pier da Medicina 
had himself also made trouble between the Lords of 
Rimini and others in the Romagna. Benvenuto 
considers the association of Curio with Pier da 
Medicina in Hell most appropriate^ although there 
had been a gap between them of nearly 1300 years, 
for both having been guilty of the same sin, are fitly 
represented as enduring the same punishment. Ben* 
venuto observes that one is inclined to ask why 

* Dr. Moore writes to me: "la it not curiaua that Pier tU. 
Medicina^ Masca dc' Lambtrrti, and Bcrirand Ae Born, in this 
Canto, seem tn b= an exception lo the general dea-ire of the 
shades in Circles b and g for obscurity {i^. in Car to xxxii) ? 
I do not know why this should be," 




Canto XXVIII. Readings on the Inferno. 


Curio should have been represented with his tongue 
torn out rather than Mahomet, who talked 50 much 
to Dante, and he does not think it a sufficient reason 
to give, that it was because Curio persuaded Julius 
Csesar into civil war. He believes it is because 
Curio voluntarily deprived himself of his tongue, in 
that he sold it for ^old, and Dante has said in Inf. 
xiii, 105, iVi?« e ghisto ax^tr do ch' uom st ioglk. Curio 
had been a great agitator for liberty, but, bein;; bribed 
by Cecsar, he became his agent and advocate. Ben- 
venuto thinks that there may also be a figurative 
sense in Curio's punishment, as showing that the 
men who spread discord and calumny between po- 
tentates, either literally have their tongues cut out, 
or, their frauds being detected, they are from very 
shame put to a perpetual silence. 


Division IV. — ^We are now introduced to a prominent 
character in the feud between the families of Buon- 
delmonte, Donati, Araidei, Uberti and Lamberti, 
which culminated in the assassination of Buondel- 
monte de* Buondelmonti, and was the means of 
bringing into active operation in Florence the dormant 
Strife between the rival factions of the Guelphs and 
iGbibellines, which had not before that time entered 
into the city, or which had at all events smouldered 
without lighting into a flame. The shade before us 
is Mosca de* Lamberti. Few episodes attracted as 
inuch attention among the turbulent incidents of 
those days as this one. The story is related by all 
the chroniclers and commentators, though many of 
them differ in their mode of recounting it. I trans- 


Readings on the Infcnw. Canto xxviii. 

late the version given by Ricordano MaEespini Usioria 
Fiorentina, C3i\]. civ): "In the year of Christ 1215, 
, . , Messer Buondeimonte de' Buondelmonti, anoble 
citizen of Florence, had promised to take to wife a 
damsel of the most noble house of the Amidei, very 
highly honoured citizens ; and after this the said 
Mt-'sser Buondeimonte chancing to ride through the 
city, being a very handsome and accomplished 
cavalier, a lady of the house of Donati [according lo 
Dino Compaf^ni she was Aldruda. wife of Fortigucrra 
de* Donati] called to him, and blamed him for his 
engagement to the damsel to whom he was aflianced, 
as not being beautiful, nor of sufficient importance 
for such as him, and telling him that she had kept 
for him her daughter, who was surpas5in;L;ly fair» 
and whom she thereupon presented before him. He, 
prompted on the instant by a diabolical spirit, fell at 
once in love with her, plighted his troth to her, and 
wedded her. On hearing this, the kinsfolk of the 
first danisel to whom he had been betrothed assembled, 
and much grieved at Messer Buondeimonte having 
put them to shame, gave way to such accursed urath 
that the city of Florence was dividt^d, and many of 
the noble families in it conspired together to take 
vengeance on the bald Messer Buondeimonte^ and 
put him to shame in his turn. And discussini; 
among themselves in what way they could injure 
him— whether to beat him or wound him— Mosca 
de' Lamberti spoke these evil words : C<na fatU capa 
hac, meaning, that death settles a matter once for all» 
and that Buondeimonte had better be slain. This 
was done. On the morning of the Easter of the 

Canto xxvilL Rtnuiinf^^ on the Inferno. 


Rcsurrectson , , , the said Messer Buondelmonte 
, . . when riding upon a beautiful white palfrey of 
h»s, on reaching the foot of the Ponte Vecchio, , , . 
was slain by them of the Lamberti, and by Mosca 
de' Lamberti, . , . at which deed the whole cily 
rushed to arms and tamult. This death of the said 
Mciser Buondelmonte was the cause and the begin- 
ning of the accursed factions of the Guelphs and 
Ghibelh'nes in Florence." 
■ Benvenuto, both in his comment on this* passage, 
and also on that quoted from the Fafndiso in the 
note, passes very cursorily over the episode, so much 
so, that one is inclined to wonder whether he, in his 
time, had any special cause to dread incurring the 
wrath of some one of ihe famihes alluded to, as he is 
usually very full in his narratives of such episodes. 
He relates that when it was first propo*ied that 
Buondelmonte should be slain, some of the older 
men were against it, and begged the others to think 
of the consequences, and that it was then that Mnsca 
de' Lamberti uttered the words which decided 
Suondclmonte's fate. 
Mosca addresses Dante, but the stem reply, brleBy 

_*SceAlao the account in Dino Compagni, and in Par. xvit 

'* I^ casa dt die nac^ue il voatro fletu, 

Per Id g;iustD disdegno che v' ha morti, 
E pose fine a.\ voslro viver ILetu, 

Era onoTata ed essa c iuol consorli, 

O BuondcLmontc, quanto mal fuit^^tHli 
Lc nozzc sue ptrr ^li alirui cnnfnrti ! 

MoJti aarcbbtm lieti che son tristi, 

Sc Dio I' Avcuhi conccdolo ad Ema 
La prima volta che a Citt4 \'eni»ti. 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xXviII. 

telling: him that he has been the destroyer of his own 
family, the Lamberti or Uberti, does not tend to 
console him, and his departure is very sorrowful 

Ed un ch' avea V una e V altra man moxja, 
Levando i moncherin per 1' aura fosta. 
Si che il sangue facea la faccia sozfa, 105 

Grid^;— *' Ricordera' ti anchc del Mosca, 
Che dissi, lasso I * Capo ha eosa fatta/ 
Che Tu il mal seme per Ea gcntc losca." — 

Ed 10 gll agijiunfii :— " E mortc di tua schiatta ',—*'* 
Perch' c^li accumulando duel con duolo 110 

Sen gio t come persona trista e matta. 

And one who had both hands lopped off^ raising 
the stumps ihrough ihe murky air, so that the 
blood befouled his face, cried out: '^ Thou wilt 
remember me Mosca also, who said alas ! * A deed 
once accomplished, there is an end of it,' which 
was the seed of ill for the Tuscan people." Add 
to him I added : " And death to thine own race." 
Whereat he, heaping woe on woe, went off like one 
grieved even to madness [iit. fjrieved and mad). 

Benvenuto says tbat Mosca had in his former life 
been happy and flourishing in the family of the 
Lamberti before he gave the evil counsel, but after- 
wards he was sad, and made many others so. as wc 
read in the words quoted above, molii iaubban iietit 
che %on trisli, etc. He had before that time beeo 

*»for/(' di tua schialta : The Oitinto tl' marks that all the Lam- 
berti, males and ftmaks, suffered sqmc kind of punishment 
for Moaca's crime, some b}' death, some by exile, some by thir 
confiscation of their property. 

+^/o; Nannucci (^Hfl/iii */fi Virbi, pp. 176, 177J writes: "La 
Icrfa persona singolare del perletto si chiuae [antuammUlmO 
in tuttc le conjugazioni, come amao^ temeOf stntio" Compare 
/il/. V, 66:— 

" Che con amor al fine combattea" 

Canto ?CxVni. Rcudings on the hiftrno, 447 

reputed a wise man, but after it an insane man ; for, 

as is the seed, such will be the fruit. 
I A scene now takes place of so extraordinary a char- 
* acter, that Dante thinks it necessary to preface the 

account by some remarks which have given rise to 

much comment, and different opinions are held as 

to his motive.* 

*l extract the following explanation primarily from the Com- 
mentaries of Di Siena and Scartajj^ini, The more general 
interpretation of this passa^^c has been that Dante feared to 
be deemed guilty of falsehood in relating, simply on his own 
assertion, a circumstance so jncrtitiiblc as the appearance of 
Bertrand de Born holding his head in hts hand, were not Dante 
supported by the testimony of his good conscience. But this 
invocatiofi would have copie in far more appropriately in Ihe 
opening linc& of the Canto as applied to the whok of the horrors 
which Dante witnesses in this Bot^idy many of which have been 
infinitely more |;hastly to behold than a simply decapitated 
body holding up its head by the hair. No I the true explana- 
tion must be sought in the horror Dante exhibits^ throughnut 
Hell wherever he is brought io contact with the punUhment of 
those Bin^ which were hia own. He flies in terror from the 
three wild beasts upon the mountain because they represent 
Ihe three vices of Sensuality, Pridu, and Avarice, againNt which 
he had especially to strive. He falls down in a swoon at the 
ftight of the penalty of the Sensual) not feeling himselt Innocent 
of that sin. His fears on entering intn the city of Dis arc 
intcnKc, knowing as he doesj that he had at one time of his 
life entertained doubts that gravely imperilled his faith in holy 
things. But he never shows any fear when contemplating the 
punishment of those sins of which he feels himself pure. 
Scarta^^ini Ihink& that although Dante mj^ht iti hi$ inmost 
conscience feel himself perfectly innocent of ever having dis- 
aetfiinatcd strife, yet he might have been aware thai his enemies 
had endeavoured to fasten upon him the accusation of his 
having done so, both in his Dc \fonar(hiaf as also in some of his 
Epistles, from which it might have been sought to prove that 
he w*5 setting the sons of Florence against their mnlher. But 
Dante knowK in his heart that such accusations would be per- 
fectly groundle^i^ and therefore he practically says *^ I was able 
l« took no with calmness at the terrible scenes tn thin Bolgia^ 
itnd especially on this one of the sinner punished for sowing 

44^ Readings on the Inferno. Canto Xxvill. 

Ma io rtmasi a riguardar lo Muoln, 
E vidi troasL ch' io avrci paura, 
Senza piCi prova,* di conUrla solo ; + 

Se non chc cosc'icnza mi assicurar 113 

La buona compagnia che I' uom franchcggia 
Sotto I' osbergo del sentirsi pura. J 

But I lingered on gazing at the crowd, and behdd 
a thing which without further confirmation I shoutd 
he afraid only to relate it : but that conscience re- 
assures me, the good companion which mtLke» 
a man bold under the breastpbte of feeling him- 
self pure. 

diaCDTd among kinsnten, knowing my own CDnsci<:ncc Co be 

clear of such sin." Compare Ovid, Fast. I, 485, 4»6: — 
" Conscia mens ut uuique sua est, iu concipit intra 
Pectora pro fagto spemquc Tnetumque «uo." 
And Horace^ 1 EpisL i, 6a, 6r : — 

" Hie marus aiincus csio, 
Nil conscire sibi, nulla pallcsccrc culpa/' 
And ibid, i Cnrm. xxii^ t-4: — 

*' Inseger vitae. s eel c risque puriis 

Non cget Mauris jacutis nequc arcti 

Ncc vencnatis gravida sagitlis, 

Fuscc, pharctra." 

*f'roiHi : I have tranblatcd prova '" confirmation," an nearly 

all the Commentators so interpret it. But pnn'ii means/jhwnr 

as well as f^rcui'Cy and thure can be no objection to take it in 

either sense. Scarla^zmi thinks it shciuld not be taken in the 

sense of *' testimDny,'* as Dante does not as a fact adduce any 

other testimony than his own assertion ; he would rather rcndrr 

the words : '' without further experience of it, without iiccing it 

anew." In stugc language, La prova means ''the rehear&jil:,'* of 

a drama, or opera. Compare the Engliah word "proofs'* in 


t sniii here is an adverb for svtamenti. 

1 /' I'sftrr^o iiei WMltVsi puru : Compare Shakespeare, 2 Htmry 
Vi, Act iii, Sc. 3 :— 

" What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted I 
Thrire is he nrm'd that hath his quarrel just. 
And h? but naked, though lock'd up in steel, 
Whose conscience with jnjutitice is corrupted.'* 

^anto XXVllt- Reading's on th: Inferno, 



Here as elsewhere, as for instance in Inf. xiii, 20 ; 
and 46-51 5 and xvi, T24-126, when recounting some 
extraordinary episode, Dante feigns to tell the story 
with reluctance, out of fear of the incredulity of the 

lo vidi ccrto,* cd ancor par ch* io 'i veggia, 
Un bu&to scnza capo andar^ b1 come 
Andavan gli altri dclla tri&ta greggia. t^o 

E il capo Ironco tenea per Ic chiome, 
Pesol con mano a guiea di lunterna, 
E quel mirava noi, e dicea :— " mc ! — " 
Di s^ faccva a s^ stcsso luccrna^t 

Ed eran due in uno, ed uno in due; 125 

Com' cKscr pu5, Quet sa che si governa.} 

1 saw difitinctly ; and methinks I see it still, a trunk 
walking along without its head, even as the others 

* vidi ierto : In 1. 104 Dante speaks of the murky air (/' aura 
fotca), BO no^v, before relating a thing which was apparently 
•trangc and incredible, he assures hi» readers that he really 
nw it diiitincdy, 

■f lucrrrm ; The figure was guiding its own steps by the eycB 

the head which it held in its hand, 

\€he it got^crua : BcEtdes meaning "lo ordain," as gi\'en here, 
•rtmn has n^any si^tiihcations, the primary idea bein^ that 
of *■ to exercise influence," which may be dune in various ways, 
as t,g goverfuirf tttui flrtT*^, to ^tct■^ fl ship ; also to rule, to exer- 
cise jurisdictinn : to provide with forcthoupbt ; to set In order ; 
to KU^i'di ; to *akc charge (of thildren^ tn educate ; (o have the 
Care of horses, dogs, falcons, poultry, etc, Gouiman il terreno 
ia to manure it. The ['1 cabohrio ddU Crusca says : " govcrnare 
i vini, vale» Oitr larti il fiovcrnn , , , si dice anche dcU' Accon- 
ciamentn [tretitmtntj che si fa ai vtni, mescoiandovi uvc o 
Bptcciolate, n ammostntc per fargli piil coloriti, o piCi sapornsi." 
[I am perfectly fatnihar with this expression in Tuscimyj. 
Compare Inf. xxaiii, 130, iji : — 

" il cnrpa buo I' i tolto 
|)fl un demonio, che poscia il governa," 
in which passage the Voftib- tltlUt Cruica explains guvernoire 
''pet Mverc in balla ; Oommare Hen^a aver punto rigujrdo al 
ben cMcre ddia pcr&ona govcrnata." 


Rcddtnt^^i im tiu: Inferno. Canto xxviii, 

of the wretched flock walked (who retained their 
heads and their eyesiKhl). And it held the severed 
head l>y its hair^ dangling in its hand in the ^uise 
of a l.'tntcrn, nnd it (the head) gazed at us, and 
said : '* Woe is me I " Of itself it made for itself 
a lampt and they were two in one* and one in two ; 
how that can be^ He knows Who so ordains. 

The weird figure now addresses Dante. 

Quando diritto al pii del pnnte fuc, 

Lcv5 it braccio ntto ccrn tutta la tcaU* 
Per apprcssarne Ic parole aue» 

Che furo :^" Or vcdi la pcna molcsta 

Tu chc, apirando, vai vcggendo i morli : 
Vcdi se akuTia i grandc come quests ; t 

E pcTchJ^ tu di me novella porti, 

Sappt ch' io Bon Bertram dal Bornio^ quelli 

*ri7n tuttu la tfsta : Scanazzini obKcr^'cs that iutta here in « 
riempitivo, and that th;; meaning i>f tutta la Uita ia ^ihc very 
head." Di Siena says the words are alill * living expression 
m Italian; and Tommas^o remiirks thiit it is to be hejinl fre^ 
quently in the hybrid dialect spoken at Corfu. 

t Vuii se dlcuna I ^randt coHt^ qunta : Compare /.Am. i, lajl 
'■'■ Is it nothini^ tn ynu, alt yc that pa^s by ? behold, and »ce if] 
there be any sorrow like unln mv surrow^ which la done untoj 
mc, wherewith the Lard hath abided me io the day of hi%\ 
fierce anger." 

X Bertram dal Bornio: This person was Vicomte de Hauta 
fort of Perifiueux in Gascony, a famous troubadour and [_ _ 
lyante'Dc I'ulg. Etihf. ii« cap. ^ 11. 7^-84) cites him aa one of 
the earliest poets whose poetry wan written in the M%)arK 
iituitre : *' Quare haec tria, aalus vtdelictt, Venus, virtu*, «j 
cnt esse ilU mai^nHlia quae sinl maxime pertractanda. hd 
ea quae ma?(jma sunt ad ista, ut nrmorum probitas, ati 
accensin, et dirrctip voWnlalis- Circa quae sola, 91 bene re- 
colimus, illustrcs viros inventmus vuIj;ttriteT poctakvc ; i<ilicci 
Berlmmum dc Hnrnio. arma ; Amaldum Uanirlrm, anwwcm ; 
Gcrardum dc Borneilo, recti(udincm ; Cinunj PiKturienaem, 
amorL'in ; iimicum trjus, rectjtudinem. . . . Arma \~ero naUam 
Latinum adhuc invenio poetasse." On the above. Ui Swc 
remarks, that fully two cenluriea elap&ed after ihn, bcfor 

Canto xxviti. Rcaditti^a on the Inferno, 


Che diedi al re giovane * i mai conforti. 135 

In feci il padre c il fi^Iio in si rtbelli : 

Torqgato Tasao sang of Arms and Love. Bcrtrand dc Bnrn 
was a sublime troubadour and a valiant knight, but he is 
noted for having sown discord between Henry II of England 
and hia eldest son Henry, who was trowncd king, as the future 
successor of his father, in Westminster Abbey, and was gener- 
ally known at the time as the " Keys Joves. ' It was said in 
the life of Bcrtrand dc Born : " metia lot son senno en mesclar 
guerras, c fcs mcsclar lo paire e '1 fjlh dl Enj^latcrra." 

* re ^wvajie ; Witte reads Re Giovanni, which, though sup- 
ported by nn overwhelming rriajority of MSS., ia utterly de- 
void of historical fnundation. Dr. Moore (Textual Crilkismj 
pp, 3-iH-jSi\ K^f^s very fully into the subject : " The arguments 
on both sides iGiavane i'. Giovanni] are admirably summed up 
in Scartazzini s note, though I %^enture to come to a different 
conclusion from that distinguished comp>entalor, because [ 
cannot believe it possible that Dante coutd have jnade a mi.<itakc 
on such a pot ti as thts. Were not Bcrtrand de Horn's relations 
with the ' Reysjnvcs ' so notorious, and is not Dante's famdiarity 
with the Provencal poetry generally, and with that of Bcrtrand 
dc Born in particular, so certain, that the notion of his making 
a mistake on this point is inconceivable ? " 

The historical facts show that after his eldest son, who died 
■n infancy, Henry II had four surviving sons. 

(1) Prince Henry, born 1155, died iifij. 

(21 Prince Richard, who afterwards reigned as Richard I, 
from 118^ to iigy. 

kfj) Prince Geoffrey flhc father of Arthur of Brittany), who 
icd before his father in i[6f>, 
(4) Prince John, afterwards KinR; John, from iigg lo 1216. 
|>r. Moore s^ys that Prince Henry derived his title of " the 
oung King" from the fact that he was crowned at West- 
minster in 1 170^ and again at Winchester in 11 72, in his father's 
Jifc-timc. He was in continual opposition to his father, as 
-*'cre his brothers Richard and Gtoffrey, whereas it was only 

I in Henry II's later days that John took any part against him. 
Bcrtrand dc Born is not known to have been in any special 
Btimacy with Prince John, while per contra he is par excellence 
pie friend nf "the Young King" Henry^ and the '* Keys Jovcs '* 
P his regular and oft recurring title for hJm. Familiar as 
Dante was with the Troubadour poetr>' generally (see De Vutg. 
£lo/ paiSHim), Dr. Moore thinks that Dante could not possibly 
naw:irc of this. Moreover the references to the Voung 
iDg arc ao woven into the tissue of Bcrtrand'a poetry, that 


FF 2 

452 Readiuffs mt the Inferno. Canto xxvitl. 

Achitofel* non fe' pivi d' Ansalone 

E di David co' malvagi punKcUi.+ 
Perch' io partii cosi Riunte personc,][ 

Partito porlo il mio cerebro, lasso I i^o 

Dal &UQ principio ^ ch^ h in que&lo tronconc- 
Cosi s' osacrva in me lo contrapA9so>"|| 

this would strike even a casual reader a& one of iis most pro* 
minent features. 

Every word of Dr, Moore's exhaustive essay on the subject, 
of which the above is but an extract, ahoulil be studied. Di 
Siena observes that GmKwenc whs the 6rsl to point out. by 
the Iifihl of hislorj', that rt Giovanni for re ^invanc was eithcra 
an error of Danlcj or an -Tttcration of hifi text by copyists. ^ 

* Achiiiyfd : For the iniquitous counsels given by Ahithophcl 
to Absalom, both ns to the violation of the niyal seraglio, and 
to the intended murder of David his father, sec 2 Sam, xv. ri 
uq., and xvii, 1-^4. 

ipunf^illi is literally ** goads/' and by metAphor it comes to 
mean '* instigations.'* 

] iosi giunti pfrsone : It must be remembered that Hctlrand 
de Born comes under the calejsfory of tlicise h ho siKwtd itiscoril 
amoiiK kini>men. Cosi f^iunt^f persont therefore mrani the father, 
Henry 11, and Che son, younf^ King Hcnr>% his eldest sur- 
viving son. 

g Dal sua principio : Di Siena quotes the comment of Floriano 
Caldani, professor of anatomy at Padua, who says ihiit Praxa* 
^oras and Plistonicus, according Id Galen, were of opinion 
that the brain must be considered a sort of appcndaee of th« 
spinal marrow, and that perhaps Dante wislicd to refer I'l thi«.! 
opinioriT which is also that of Aristotle, in saying thai the bratn 
of Bertrand dc Born was parted from its Si>urcc (Jat icn* prin- 
eipio), i.r. from the Hpinal marrow that is aituatcd in the trunk 
olthe vertebrae. 

\\contrapassQ : This word is derived from mntrapati^, the Ut 
liiUinjii, which, according to Tommas^o and Scarta//ini, citkis 
in the whole of Dante's Hell. In Greek this is to rirrivrmr^nr. 
•' Egli h difTcrcnzfl tra giustizia c (ontritf>pai%a : piustixia si dice 
quando I' uomo ha morto uomo ct cgli t poi mnrto : in qualun- 
quc modo inuoia si dice piustiiia. Contrappa&io ha in *^ p.i^ 
scvcriti cl ra(;ioTie ; chc vuole chc nclU esccu/ionc della fC'us* 
ti*ia tutic le cose oecorraoo che s^no occorsc nclla offotj ^ chv 
vuolc chc I' uomo omicida sia morto quell' ora del di th' ellj 
uccise, per quel modo^ et in quello luogo et COT <|uelli ordini 
Bimilia/' {4nonitm Viifrtntino), 



Canto XXVIII. Readings vn the In/crno, 



When it was right at the foot of the bridge {i.c, 
just beneath the Poet3}f it lifted high its arm with 
the very head, so as to bring it$ words near to us, 
which were : " Now look at this grievous torment 
thou who^ breathing', goest looking upon the dead : 
look if any (tormerit) be as great as this ! And 
that thou mayest bear tidin|;;s of me, know that 1 
am Bertrand de Born, he who gave to the Young 
King {i.e. to Prince Henry of England) the evil 
encouragements. I set the father and the son at 
war with each other. More did not Ahithophel do 
with Absalom and David by his wiclied instiga- 
tions. Because I divided persons so united^ I, 
alas! carry my bfain divided from its source (the 
spine), which is within this mutilated trunk. Thus 
is the (law of) retribution observed in me," 

Tommias6o remarks that this Canto, together with 
the one immediately preceding it (Canto xxvii), as 
well as Canlo xxxii, are the three in the whole Poem 
that are the most full of history. 

Dante would appear to have been so stupefied with 
horror at the ghastly figure, and so absorbed in con- 
templation, that the Canto closes, leaving him in a 
state of abstraction that prevents him from noticing, 
until somewhat sarcastically reminded of the fact by 
Virgil, in 1, 28 of the next Canto, that the shade of a 
person near akin to him had been close under the 
ipot where he was standing, but had passed away 




Readings on the Inferno. Canto XX IX, 



In the opening of the present Canto the description J 
of the Fomenters of Discord is brought to a coc 
elusion, and the remainder of it, together with the 
whole of Canto xxx, is devoted to the Bolgia in which 
are tormented FaUifiers of four classest namely (x)l 
Falsifiers of metals^ or Alchemists ; (2) Falsifiers or 
Counterfeiters of persons; (3) Fal&ificrs of money, 
or Forgers ; and (4) Falsifiers of words, or Perjurers. 
Benvenuto divides the Canto into four parts. J 

In Divisiott I, from ver. i to ver. jg. a conversation" 
takes place between the Poets, in which Virgil re- 
proves Dante for allowing himself to have been &o 
absorbed by the grim apparition of Bertrand dc Bom, 
that he allowed the shade of his kinsman, Gcri del 
Hellu, to pass unnoticed. 

In DivhioH lU from ver. 40 to ver. 6g, the Poet 
enter the Tenth and la&t liotgia, and get sight of the 


'anto XXIX. Readings on ike Inferno. 


In Division III, from ver. 70 to ver. 120, the 
wretched condition of the Alchemists in general, and 
of two of them in particular, is narrated. 

In Division IV, from ver. ui to ver. 139, Dante 
passes some severe strictures upon the vanity of 
the inhabitants of Siena. 

^■^ Division I, — Dante, whom we left, at the conclu- 
sion of the last Canto, listening to the narrative of 
Bertrand de Born, seems to have continued to gaze 
down so intently into the huf(e chasm below him, 
that to arouse him it requires the commanding in- 

ii flitence of Virgil, who reminds him that the vast size 
of the Bolgia precludes his taking more than a 
general survey of the immense number of gory beings 
within it, and makes it impossible to count them. 
Here we have a most interesting statement by Virgil 
of the exact measurement of this Ninth Bolgia^ and 
as in the next Canto, I. 87, we are given the measure- 
ments of the Tenth Bolgia, it is possible to calculate 
the increasing proportions of the liolge above, and 
the vast dimensions they would assume. 

i*4ivfrsc piaghi : BIftnc (l^iuc. Dant.) cannot feci certain 
hethef (/(Vfrif here should be Iranslated '* diverse'' or "ter- 
rible," the "watd admitting of both sisntficatiooA, 

t imbriaU : Blanc, Biajiiuii, ScartajfiiiHi and Camerini, intcr- 
prcl thi* '•'/'Cfj^flf ifi iagrim( ; "" lommaBio. " pregnf di dalore.** 
dtrtnparc Euk. xxiii, jj: " Thou shult be filled with drunken- 
ness and Horrow/' etc And isainh xvi, g (in the yulgutf) : 

La molta gente e le diverse piaghe* 
Avean le luci mie s) inebriate, t 
Che detlo stare a piangere eran vaghe ; 


Rtadin^& on the Inferno. Canto xxix. 

Ma Virgilio mi dissc • — " Che pur guate ? 
Perchi ]a vista Iwa pur si soflrolj^e*" 
Laggiu tra V ombre tristc smozzicate ? 

Tu non hal fatto si all' altre bolge : 
Peosa, se tu annoverar le crtdi, 
Cht miglta ventidue la valle voIrc ; 

E gi^ La luna ^ sotto i nostri piedi :t 

La tempo h poco omai chc n' & conccsso, 
Ed altro i da veder che tu non vedi.'"— { 


*' Inebriabo te lacrima mea." See also Isaiah xxrffr, 5; " For 

my sword sha]] be bath.d (in the Vulgate imbriatui) in heaven. 
Tommas6o thinks Dante is weepin;; for the torments be sees, 
Hs well as for the civil discords which are the cause of them, 
and of which he himself was the victim. 

* si soffoigt : Blanc { Voc. Dant.) says that soffolgtrsi and S£i0ol- 
frrsi arc verbs taken from the Latin iuffuictrf. Their proper 
mcaniruK is sosttrttrc ; some interpret it si api»>g^ia - rests 
upon; but I follow the interpretation of Buli and BargiKt. 
which in '^si Rcca«^' and other Commentators have **s) aRi»&a.'* 
Compare Par. xxiii^ 130, tji : — 

^^0 quanta ^ 1' ubertfk che m sofTtilce 
In quell' arche richissime." 
There si ioffoke has the meaning " is stored up, ie gathered 
togiether,*' Ariosto Or}. Fur, xxvii, sL 84) uses the word in the 
sense of propping, supporting ; — 

"... ^Ii nurra che H sottil ladrone 
Ch' in un alto pensier V aveva collo, 
l^a sella su quattro ai^te gH sullotRe, 
E di sDtto il destrier nudo gli tolse.'* 

f E gia Iti luna i sottv i nostri piedi : Dr. Moore (Timi ftf/er- 
ettCM, p. 50) remarks thai this is another way of saying that il 
was early in the afternoon, about 1 or 2 p.m., &nd that Dante 
vcri' sigmhcantly here, as in xx, IJ3, and elsewhere; avoidii all 
mention of the bun during his passage through the /n/mHt, 
and describes the hour by referring rather to the position of 
"La faccia dclla donna chc qui reggc" {Inf. x, 80). 

I Eft aliFo i ds vtder cht iu tton vtdii Some here reftd crtdi 
for veMy a reading which is palpably false, as Dante never puts 
together three rhymes, of which two are words having; the 
same sense, though in Par. sii, 71, 73, 75, we find the wurd 
CftiBTo used three times running, for the sake of cmphjuia :^^ 

<!anto XXIX. Rtadingi on the Injentn, 



The many people and the diverse wounds had 
made my eyes so drunken (x.t, ao brimming over 
with tears), that they were craving to stay and 
weep ; but Virgil said to me : " What art thou still 
gazing at? Why is thy sifjht Btilll riveted below 
there among the dismal mutUated shades? Thou 
didst not do so in the other Bolge : consider, if 
thou thinkest to number them, that the valley has 
a circuit of two and twenty miles ; * and the Moon 
is already beneath our feet : the time is short now 
thdt ■£ granted to us, and there is somewhat more 
to see than thou seest." 

Dr. Carlyle remarks that in the above passagfe 
Dante gives the measurement of this ninth and last 
but one rins of MaUbol^e and in the next Canto he 
gives thai of the smallest and innermost ring of all, 
which is eleven miles round ; " and so leaves us to 
imagine the vast dimensions and population of all 
the Hell above," 

* Dominica fu detta ; ed io nc parlo 

Si came delT agricola che Cristo 

Elease all' orto suo per aiutarlo. 
Ben parve mcsso e famigliar di Chlsto; 

Chfe il primo amor che in lui fu manifesto 

Fu al primo coosiglio che dii CmsTo." 
Crislo occurs three times in triple rhyme, namely, Par, xn\ 
(quoted a-bove}; Far. xiv, iU4, io6, id8 ; and Par. x\x, 104, }o6r 
loS. Sec also Purg. xx, 65, 67, &9 where atntnirntla is thrice 
repeated to ^ivc intensive force ; and Par. xxx. 95, qj, 99^ 
vhcrc for ttic same reason thu Sitme thing tKcura with viUi. 

*The English statute mile is equal to 1760 yards ar 1609 
cnetres. The miles of continentfil Europe were of the most 
various lengths, and mostly repre«.ented, it would beem^ mul- 
tiples of some modified Roman mile. The Roman mile is 
1489 mietrica; that of Naples ^oca up to zinh; while the mile 
of Tuscany, with which wc may suppose Danic had to do, la 
1652 metres. The Gi^rman miles are of infinitely greater 
Icnglh. The shortest is the Haonverion mile of 7^19 metres; 
the longest thit of Sajcony of 906a metres. 


Readings on the Inferno. Catilo XXIl 

There are two ways in which Commentators, both 
ancient and modern, have attempted to compute the 
dimensions of the Bolge above this one. The first 
mode is noticed by Benvenuto, but he does nol agree 
with it. He says: " And here mark that some think 
Dante's meaning lo be that each separate Boigia i& 
double as great as the next one in succession, so that 
the Tenth Boigia in the next Canto comprises eleven 
miles, as we shall be told ; and the eighth forty- 
four ; and so on by an ascending or descending scale 
of progression ; but perchance, according to that com- 
putation, the Inferno would ascend to too large di- 
mensions; but consider it for thyself (it* veto vidtm).^* 
Agnelli {Topo-Crofiografia del Viaggio D&nUuo, Mi)atl» 
i8gi, p. 17) also rejects the above mode of computa- 
tion by arithmetical progression, and adopts that of 
•* the differences/' He remarks : " In this case, if 
the Tenth Boigia has a circumference of 11 miles» 
and the ninth of 2a, that of the eighth will be 33* of 
the seventh 44, of the sixth 55, of the fifth 66, of the 
fourth 77, of the third 88, of the second 99, and of 
first no, with a radius equal to 17^ miles. These 17J 
miles multiplied by g, give 157^ miles of radius and 
nearly a thousand of circumference to the Antmfemo, 
where is the entrance with the characters of death 
inscribed above it" Mr. Butler in an interesting 
note suggests the possibility of the intervening walls 
between the Bolge being ij miles thick, an idea 
which greatly commends itself to me. Blanc how- 
ever (SaggiOf pp. 276-278), after discussing the 
many theories of the dimensions of Hell as given by 
Manetti, Landino, Giambullari, VellutcUo. and Gali- 


Canto xxtx. Readings on the Inferno. 




leo, concludes thus : " Speaking generally, %ve con- 
fess that the labour imposed upon themselves by 
such great men in computing the dimensions of 
Hell and its special parts, appear to us to have 
been thrown away. Two passages alone seem to 
give grounds for such calculations, namely. Inf. 
xxix, 9, and xxx, 86. But who is able to affirm 
that the ratio in which the Ninth and Tenth Bolgc 
stand to each other, is operative in the same way 
for the other Circles of Hell ? Even if placed 
beyond a doubt that Hell extends from the surface 
to the centre of the Earth, who is to tell us what 
is the thickness of the crust that covers the void 
of Hell ? . . . 

*'. . . Andlastly«of what avail are all these calcula- 
tions, ingenious though they be^ if it still remains an 
impossibility, with so many stoppages for conversa- 
tion, to traverse the Earth from its surface to its 
centre in the brief space of twenty-four hours ? For 
these reasons, while we admit that the Poet has 
certainly determined the duration of his journey with 
exact precision, we hold that, with the liberty of a 
poet, he has kept to himself the dimensions of his 
Heli, and that he would be anything but grateful to 
his admirers, who with minute exactness have been 
calculating that which he himself has wished to leave 

Dante hints to Virgil that he fancies there is a 
kinsman of his in the Boigia they are quitting, but 
Benvenuto says Pante is speakinj^ hastily, and does 
not remember that Virgil has been able to read his 
most secret thoughts. 


Readings an the Itifcrno, Canto xxixT 

— '"Se tu avcssi," — rispos' io appresso, 
— " Attcso alia cagion perch' io j^uardava, 

Forse m' avresii ancnr lo star dimcsso." — • 15 
Parte sen gia,t ed 10 retro g]i andava^ 
Lo Duca, gi^ faccndo ta risposta, 
E sogtjiungendo .■^" Dentro a quella cavn \ 
Dov' to tencva dt glii occhi si .1 posta, ^ 

Credo che un iipirtn del mio sangnc || pianga SO 
Lai coipa che la^giu colanto coata-"— 

" If thou had St," I thereupon replied. " given heed 
to the reason why I was looking, thou wouldsl 
perchance have permitted a longer stay." Mean- 
while my Leader was ^o\n^ on, and I was walk- 
ing hehinc! him^ already making my answer, and 
adding: "Within that lair (the Bolgia) upon 

*dimisso in this passage means "permitted, conceded,* 
from the Latin ditnitUrc, or mitUrt, " to give leave lo depart " ; 
aliquid missum facen \^ equivalent to *' not to think 01 some- 
thing, or not to notice it." (Di Siena!. 

f Parte sen ^ia :^ Parle is an ad\'erb having the sense of 
** meanwhile," which the CotHct CdJsmrif explains by the Latin 
interim. Compare Purg. jixi, 19 :— 

"*Comc,' diss' e^li, e parte andavam forte* 
And Petrarch, Part ii, Canx. iv, at. 3 : — 

" Ma si cum' uom tator che piangc, c parte 
Vcde coaa, che gli occhi, c *\ cor allctta." 
And in the same CGnume, st. 4 : — 

'' Tien pur gli oechi, conv^ aquila, in quel sole : 
Parte dk orecchi n qucste mJc parnJc." 
I cava : The word here not nnly haa the sense of CAvttf, 
fo9sc, ^otto, but its Latin equivalent eavum also srgni&cm a 
lair for wild beasts. 
:§ a fioUa : Compare Purg. vi, 58, 59 :— 

" Ma vcdi \k un' anima, che posta [many read d^Asftf} 
Sola soletta, verso noi riyuarda.'' 
\\d^i ttiio sdd^'iiif.' Compare Par, xv, 28-30, where Caccia- 
Kuida uses the word, as applied to Dante, with the meaning of 
descendant :-— 

" O Siin^ffuis mcus^ o superin/usa 
Gratia Dei S ileut iibi, cui 
Bii Hfttitttira coftt jnuiutt retlusa ?^ 

Canto XXIX. Readings on the In/cnto. 

which I was keeping my eyes so fixed, I think 
that a spirit of my own kindred is bewailing the 
crime which pays so dear a penalty liown there." 

Dante means that there h a blood-relation of his 
beinp punished in the Ninth Bol^ia for havinj^ been a 
disseminator of strife on earth. 

Virgil tella Dante that the spirit in question had 
not escaped his notice, though Dante, from his ab- 
straction of mind, had neither noticed him nor the 
unmistakable signs of hostility towards Dante that 
he was exhibiting ; and he proves his assertions by 
teliing Dante the spirit's name. 

Allor dissc il Maestro x^" Non si franca* 

Lo tun pensicr da qui innanzl aopr' ello ; f 
Attend! ad altro, ed t\ Ml si rimanga ; 

* finn si/raji^a^ et scq* : Scartaezini explains /raK^frt: in the 
strnae of rijriffi^cre or rijltltcrty arid translates the sentence : 
" Trom henceforth let not thy attention be distracted by think 
inp any more about him." According; to Brunone Bianchi 
Dante compares the thnujjht to the ray of light which is re- 
flected on an object : " In quanta che dipinge il pensiero della 
menle, ehe quasi un raggJo percole sull obietto, donde poi si 
Txpie^a sopra I' agcnte." Tommaseo thinks that the meaning 
of Virgil's words is : " Let not thy mind he overcome with com- 
pas&ian for this Geri, who is deservedly punished." And Tom* 
tnas£o supports this explanation by the Latin form frangi 
mUtrkordid (sec Ciecro, Ad AtS. vii, 12}; and in St. Tham. 
Aqu. Summn Tfuol. " Frangi dicitur aliquid quando suo aensu 
divelhtur.' And in 2 Sam. xi, 24, the I'ttf^aie has : " Non tc 
-^frangat ista res." Bargi|L;;i ha^i. : "Non si stanchi il tuo pen- 
i«iero," etc. Landino : "Non si rompa, . . . cioe iion ittter- 
^ rompere i pensicrij" etc. HIanc : "/Voh si arrtiti^ per analogia 
I dcMe onde che si frangono conlinuamcntc pcrLolendo in ci^ chc 
inconlrano ; ovvcro, tome diccvasi ncj medio v\o ^rangcre sibi 
iapuf silver, e ora eomunemente in Italia rompersi il capo/* 

+ iopr^ ttlo : Dl Siena says iopra is here used like the l>4tin 
tuptr with the sense of dc or praplcr. Compare VIrg. AUi. i, 
^ : " H«s acccnsa super," etc. Al&o ihid. 750 :— 

** Multa super rriamo rogitanB, super Hcctnre mult«,'^ 


Ri^iidin^s OH the Infcnw. Cunto xxix. 

Ch" io vidi lui a pi£ del ponticcllo* 

Moslrarti, e minacciar forte col dito, 
Ed udi '] nominar Gen del Be|]o.+ 

Tu en allor si del tutto impedita 


* ponikilh : As in /«/. xviii, 15, 1 translate "narrow bridge.'* 
If one adopts VcHutello's estimate of ihe meusurtmcnts of 
MaUhul^t!, whose valleys were supposed lo be from half a mile 
tn a mile broad, one cannot call llic bnd>;ea which rravcrse 
them "little bridjjcs." At Bori:;o u Buggiano. about 14 miles 
from the city of Lucent and 2 miles from the Btigni di I.tutM^ 
the Serchio is crossed by a bridge with an arch ofan immense 
span^ but vtry narrow and exceedingly sk ndcr 1 1 is supposed 
to have been built considerably before the time of D^nle. who 
may very likely have seen it on his way into the J^unij;iafu. 
Like many other bridges in the Middle Agca, the cnn^^^uc^ion 
was attributed to ihe Devil, whence it is popularly known as 
Ponte al Diavolo, though its real name is Pome aIJa Maddalena. 
Us arch h exceedingly steep on both sides up to the crest, And 
It may wcJl have sufiK*;****! to Dante his bridges (or KfaUMgt, 
which would only require to be narrow in width, though they 
would of necessity have lo be of considerable Icn^clh, 

fGcri del BtHv : tieri was the son of Messer iJcHo. Some 
have tried to prove that he was Dante's father (Sec HuiUttino 
dtliii Societal Dantesca ItaUaiui, vol. ii, /ascicoio 5). BcHo was 
brother of BelUncione, whose son Aldighicro was Dante'ft 
fiither. The AMonimu h'hrftttino relates of him that he took 
dclii^ht in making mischief bctwttn man and man ; and that 
having sown much discord the members of a family 
called 1 Gemini, it 50 chanced that on a tertam day Ihcy came 
across him, and gave him a good bcaiin}^ with ^^ticka. Gcrt del 
Bello, greatly enraged thereat, came in his lum one day upOQ 
one of them, who did not recognise him, as he had maslced 
himself; and finding this man standing at the door of hi* 
house, exclaimed " Messer ! fjuirdalevi dall' arme, ecco la 
fami^lia," " Mind Sir, h^rt is the watch ; timarf itst they c^alck 
you iz'itk iirwi '* [a thing rigorously prohibited}. rrcri*s device 
iiuccccded ; the man drew hastily back within hi^i house, and 
threw away his arms. Gcri at once sprang upon him, and 
^litbhcd him again and again with his dagger. For this he 
wa.s condemned and b^tnlshed ; and being one day in disguise 
at FuccLchio, where one of the Gemini family was Hodriiti, 
he wa^ recognrscd by a nephew of this magistrate and stabbed 
to death ; and it woukl »ccm thut his death wa^i^ never avenged 
cither by Dante or any of his kindred. 



Canto XxiX. ReaditiJ^s on the Inferno. 


Sopra colui che ^tk tenne Altaforte, 

Che non guardasti in fk ; ai fu parttto." — * jo 

Then said my Master: *' Lei not thy thoughts 
henceforth be distracted about him ; attend to 
other matters, and let him remain there. For I 
saw him at the foot of the narrow bridge point 
thee out and menace thee fiercely with hia finger, 
and I heard him named Geri del Beilo. Thou 
wert just then so completely taken up with him 
who once bore sway in Hauteforl(r.(f- Bertrand de 
Born), that thou didst not look that way until he 
was gone." 

Benvenuto looks upon the above as an ingenious 
fiction. Dante represents himself as having been so 
absorbed in the contemplation of Bertrand de Born 
(who, with the exception of the one sin for which 
he is bein}^ punished, was a good and hifjhly distin- 
guished man), that he had missed seeing his kinsman 
Geri del Bello, a thoroughly worthless and contemp- 
tible beings who in life had caused divisions, who 
died by the sword, and who after death suffers di- 
vision by the sword of the Demon. Dante, finding 
himself obliKcd to allude in some way to this shade, 
makes Virj^il draw attention, almost by force, to the 

' si fit partita ^ sino/u partita. The words probably refer to 
Geri del Btillo, though Homc think to Bcrirand de^ Born. Si is 
equivalent to ii» cki or findti. Hia^ioli interprets si^ as cost. 
The Vocabotario ddUt Crusm^ among the many interpretations 
of si, has per infino a tanio chc^ tantochi infinchi^ che, sitio ; Latin 
quwut, 4onf<y and quotes thi^^ precise passage as an illustration 
of the word as used in that sens>e. Compare also Boccaccio^ 
DtiafH. Giorn^ ii, Nov. 2: '' VolCo 11 cavallo, sopra il quale cra^ 
now si fitciioc dj coFterc, si fu a Cartel Guigliclmo," And 4 
footnote explains thai si fu is for insin chc fu^ a mode of expres- 
sion very coitimon with Boccaccio. Compare also /n/, xix, 

'* SI mi port6 sopra il colmo dell' arco," etc. 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xxix. 

fact that Geri del Hello had been there, but, not 
having been noticed by Dante, had moved away. 
Virgil had remarked upon the menadng demeanour 
of Geri de! Bello towards Dante. Dante explains 
this by telling his Leader that there was some excuse 
for it» as the shade has a real grievance against his 
surviving relatives who have not yet avenged his 
assassination, which had taken place many years 
before. In those days it was a shame and reproach 
to a noble family to leave unavenged the violent 
death of any of its members, Benvenuto considers it 
highly improbable that Dante did avenge Geri de! 
Bellows death, as some have sought to prove. 

— '* O Doca mio, la vtolenta mortc 

Che non gli ^ vendicata * ancof," — diss* io 
— *' Per alcun che dell' onta sia consorlc, 
Fccc lui disdcgnosa; ond' ei sen gio 
Scnza parlarmi, si com' io slimo ; 
Ed in ci6 tn' ha e* fatto a s4 pi^ pio." — 

'* O my Leader," said I, ''his violent death, which 
has not yet been avenged for him by any who (as 
a Vfnsmam) is a partner in the shame, made him 
indignant ; for which cause, as I suppose, he passed 
on without speaking to me; and in that he has 
made me pity him the more.'* 

Di Siena thinks the meaning of the last sentence 

*vendicalct : In Pur^. Kxxiii, 35, 36, reference ia made 1« Ihc 
superslittDn in Dante's ilav£ that a family vindttta mi^ht be 
averted by the murderer eatinj^; a piece of bread sopped in 
wine upon the tomb of the mnrdered man, and Bealricr tells 
Dante that the vengeance of God can by no meanM be so 
averted : — 

"... chi n' ha colpo, creda 
Che vendetta di Dio non temc »uppe.*' 

Canto XXIX. Readings on the htfemo. 


is, that Dante pitied his kinsman more for not hav- 
ing been avenged, than for the torment that he was 
undergoing as a fomenter of discord. Tommaseo 
feels strongly that we must not from this passage 
come to the conclusion that Dante was thirsty 
for the blood of his enemies ; he who (Canto xii, 
118-1-20) has chastised, Guy de Montfort for his 
vengeance against a kinsnian of the slayer of his 
father; he who names the Sacchetti in the Paradho 
without heaping upon them any reproaches,* as he 
has done in the case of others; he who has relegated 
to Hell his own cousin as a breeder of scandals, and, 
according to the Anonimo Fioreniiiw^ as a falsifier. 
The last accusation however Tommaseo does not 
believe. On the contrary, the A>ionimo FioroUino 
adds that Dante wishes to censure that thirst for 
vengeance which torments him even to the nether- 
most Hell. Benvenuto begs his Bolognese audience 
to remark that although it may seem beautiful to 
wreak vengeance, yet it is far more beautiful to 
remit it ; and it is a refined sort of revenge to spare 
when you are able to smite. Julius Caesar shone in 
this vengeance: when he did smite, it was never to 
gratify personal vindictive feelings. 

The Poets are now passing from the Ninth to the 
Tenth Bolgia. 

Coil parUmmo infino a| loco prima 

Che delli> scoglio I' altra valle mostra, 
Se ptik lumc vi fosse, tQtto ad itno. 

•Of the Sacchetti the Ottimo writes: "Furono nimici 
dell* Autorc . . » Furano e sono, giusta lor possa. dibdcgnoil 
e Bupcrbi." 




Readings on the Inftrno, Canto XxiX. 

Thus we conversed as far as the Arst place, whi^, 
if there ivere more light, would from th« bridge 
ahovv the next valley {i.t, the only now remaining 
Bolgia) right down to the bottonii. 

Dtvhion II,^The Poets have now reached tl 
centre of the bridge that crosses the tenth and last 
Bolgtdj and are gazing straight down into the Abyss. 
A horrible odour arises, and the wailings of a new 
class of sinners are heard. These arc Falsifiers of 
every sort ; divided into Falsifiers of things ; Falsifiers 
of persons; Falsifiers of money; and Falsifiers of 
words — every section tormented in a different manner, 
but all afflicted with some kind of grievous sickness 
of a corrupting nature, such as leprosy, dropsy, con- 
sumption, mania, or fever; and the whole scene re- 
minds Dante of an overcrowded fever hospital in Ihc 
most insalubrious regions of Italy at the season of 
greatest heat and malaria^ and consequently of great- 
eat fcetor. 

QuAndd nni fummo in suir ultimo chiostra * 40 

Di Malcbolge, s! chc i suni ctinvcrsif 
Fotean parere alia veduia nostra. 

*ehiostra: Compare Purg. vii, 31 : — 

" DImmi se vien d^ inferno, e di qiuU cbaoaln.** 

t co»versi : Carlyle remarks that the sinnvrm are "lay- 
brothers" in these cloisters, or enclosed rings, whtrc Demons 
are the Monks — PhiUiUiftes thinks convtrsi mean the Dcmuft) 
Only. I take it to refer to the inmates viihout specifying 
which. Bcnvcnuto, whose opinion is liupportcd by Huti and 
others, writes: "Conscrvat metaphoram: quia enim locum 
appeltaverat clauBtrum, idco habitatores talis claustri appeUaC 
gonversos," Fraticelli thtnk:i the expression h an alluaioa to 
the spirits lying in heaps, one on the top of the other* «s d«- 
■cribed further on in U. 65<69, 

Canto XXIX. Readings on tiu: InfernQ. 


Lamenti saetUron * me diversij 

Che di pict& ft:rrati avean gli strali t 
Ond* io gli orecchi colle man copersi. 

Qual dolor fora t se dt:gli spcdalt 

Di ValdichianaJ Ira i] luglio e il seUembre, 
E di Maremma c di Sardegna § i mali 


* saettaron : Buti remarks that Dante first uses the expression 
saettttrg, to shoot arrows, and then continues the simile by 
describing the arrows barbed with pity; *' e come 11 strafi 
fcrrati fcriscono col fcrro, cosi quclli Umcnti percoteano It 
orecchi di Dante con ferite di pietade.'" 

ffitra: An ancient form o{ sarebbe. In the same way that in 
l-Btin the forms/yrtni, f<)teSy foNt, took the place of tssem^ fssfs, 
fsM/, so in old Italian tht {orms fore, /ora, foriA,/orano were in 
general use evt:n in prose. NannuccI {Anatisi Critica dei Vtrbi^ 
P* 475' S ^4) says that the Provencals also made use of /era, 
/oram ; and quotes the following from Bernart de Ventadorn : 
" S'ieu saubes la genl encantar, Miei encmic foran cnfan." On 
the reading /ora « Dr. Moore (YVjf. Crii. pp. 351, 352) remarks 
that he found it in 17^ MSS., while the fulse readings /rwr fs» 
and ts££ fmT\, he found in only 18 and 17 respectively. Dr, 
Moore's observations on this passage should be studied. 
Compare Par. iii, 73, 74: — 

"Sc disiassimo esser pii^ superne, 

Foran discordi li nostri disiri," etc. 

Ispedali lii I'aLlichiatia : Buti says (hat Dante is here speak- 
ing; nf certain branch hospitals that had been established in 
Valdichiana under the tutelage of the parent house al AUo- 
pascio, which lies between Florence,. Lucca, and Pistoja. 
Blan<; describes the river Chiana as dividing into two mouths 
and flowing partly into the Faglia and partly Into the Tiber. 
Its course is so sluggish that it forms marshes which exhale 
much maUiria. But in modern times hydraulic science has 
opened a canal which carries ofl* the waters of the valley into 
the Arno, and has made the whole district between Arezzo and 
l^erugia one of the richest and most fertile in Tuscany. The 
Cvm^nlo di Aaonimo [td. Lord VcrnoOi^ Florence, t&^H) adds that 
from July to September the hospitals in this insalubrious dis- 
trict were so overcrowded, thai the skk were laid along the 
•ides of the road 

^di Maremmu <. di Sarde^na : The same Cvmfnto di Ammimo 
goca on to say that few of the travellers who ever visit the 
ialand of Sardinia are able to live there even for a year, as 


GG 2 


Readings on ike Inferno. Canto xXfX, 

Fosaero in una fossa lotti insembre;* 
Ta] era quivi, e lal pu/zo+ n* usciva, 
Qual suol venir delle marcite membre. 

When we were above the last cloister of Malfbolgc 
in such wise that its lay-brothers {i.e. inmates) 
could become apparent to our view, diverse 
lamentations smote sharply upon me, which had 
their arrows barbed with pity {i.e. had pierced my 
heart with compassion) : whereat I covered my 
ears with my hand*. Just such suflfering as there 
would be, if from the hospitals of Valdichiana be- 
tween July and September, and from the Maremma 


most of them sicken and die. Landino remarka thai in Sar^ 
dinia, from the excessive heat, the air is most pestilential, and 
princi|iatly in the parts lying nearest the sea-shore- Of the 
Marcmma we have spoken before; and of the innumerable 
snakes generated on its humid soil, see Inf. xxv, i^ 20 : — 
*^ Maremma non cred' 10 che tante n^ Jibbia, 

Quante bisce cgli avea !iu per ta groppa," etc, 
*itiscmtirc (and insemhra) is an adverb for iasUme^ Compare 
Lapo Gianni (in Rim£ Anticbc), 105:*^ 

" Molte f late slando tcca msembra, 

£ rimembrando suo giavane atato 
Diccva," etc. 

And Guittone d' Arejczo, Ult. 10: ^'Guardale quanlo poletr c 
essi, e voi, non molto usando insembre." 

\pHxzO: The senae of HmelL is offended more than once in 
the Infttno. Of the Stygian marah Virgit oboerwa (/■/. ix, 

" Questa paludc, che ll gran puzzn spira,'" etc. 
Of the First Abyss, leading down from the tombs of the Hercsi- 
archs into the Circle of Violence, Dante sa)4 {Itif. x, 154- 

" Lasciammo il muro, e gimmo in v*r lo mcxxo 
Per un senticr ch* ad una vallc ficde, 
Che infin lassCi facea spiacer suo lexjo (t>. puxao)." 
And in Inf, x\ 4-7 ; — 

" E quivij per V orribrle soperchio 

Del puzzo, che il proloiida ubisAo gitta, 
Ci racco&tainmu diuUo un copt-rchio 
D'un f^randc avcUo." 

Canto XXIX. Readings on the Inferno. 

and from Sardinia all the maladies {prevalent in 
those regions) were tO[jether in one fosse ; so was 
it here, and such a stench issued thence as is 
wont to come from gangrened limbs. 

Benvenuto points out that Dante inean^ the put- 
ref3'inj^ limbs of living rather than of dead persons, 
but the comparison would be very apt. whichever 
way one understands it» for as in the above-named 
localities, whether marsh-lands or plains, there are 
many and diverse wailings from sick persons suffer- 
ing from diseases brought on by the corrupt humours 
arising from these pestilential atmospheres, so here 
many and diverse were the lamentations of the 
sinners guilty of various kinds of Falsity produced 
by the corruption of the air of Hell, that is, by the 
inspiration of the Devil, and so much the j^reater 
was the stench, inasmuch as disease of the mind is 
infinitely worse than disease of the body. 

Up to now Dante's ears have been deafened by the 
loud cries of woe, and his sense of smell offended by 
the sickening odour of festering limbs, but as yet his 
eyes have been unable to penetrate the deep gloom 
in which the last Bolgia is hid. The Poets, however, 
defend the long downward slope of the bridgeway 
till they find themselves on the much lower lt;vel of 
the inner rampart, and then Dante is enabled to 
descry the horrible details. 

Noi diacendemmo in sull' ultima nva*' 

* ultima riva: This refers lo the last or innermost rampart 
of Malfhoigc^ which on its other side was enuircled by the Tenth 
Bolgia, while it itself in its turn encircled the great Pit iPotio) 
leading down to the Ninth Circle, at thi: bottom ol which Uy 
the Traitors in the ice, while the Giants aurmounted its top- 
most aurfAcc wtth the upper part of their bodies. 


Readings on the Inferno. Canto xjcix. 

Del lungo scoglio,* pur da man sini$trA,t 
Ed atlor fu la mia vista pih. viva 
Gii^ v6r 1o fondo^ ]k 'vc la ministra 55 

Deir alto Sire,! itifallibil giustizJa, 
Punisce i filsator cKc qui regisUa-g 

We descended to the last rampart from the 
long rock bridge (bearing) constantly to the left 
hand, and then my sight became more able to 
penetrate down towards the bottom, wherein the 
ministreas of the Supreme Father — infallible 
Justice — punishes the Falsifiers whom she registers 
{in the book of doom as condemnedj to this place 
(the Tenth ^o/^Eci). 

*Iun^n scoglio : This means ihe long system of bridgcways, 
which like the &pokcs of a wheel, ran from the cliffs at the 
botiom of the Great AbysJi {Burrato) right across the foues 
and the ramparts of Mitttbolf^e a* far as the edge of the eii»t 
Pit. See inf. xviii, 16-18:— 

" Cosi da imo dclla roccia sco^Ii 

Movien, che recidean gli argini c fnssi 
Infino a] poatio, che i tronca e raccogli." 
ipur da man stmstra : Compare Inf. xxiii, 58, 69: — 

*' Noi ci volgemmo ancor pure a man manca 
Con loro insieme." 
Compare also Inf. xiv, 126 : — 

" Pur a sini&tra giii calandn al fondo.' 
laiio Sirz: Compare Par^, xv, 112-114;— 
"Orando all' alto Sire in tanta guerra, 

Che perdonaase a^ suoi persccutorj, 
Con quell ' aspetto che pietA disscrrB." 
§ che qui regiilra : Of this Vellutcllo saya : " E dice *rcgistr«'i 
pcrch^ data U senten2a contra del rco. quella si re^istra^ acciA ' 
che tale qua] ella>^, si possa poi a tempo publicart*/' I.rOtnbardi] 
thinks this, contains a fi.^uratlve allusion that corresponds ta>] 
the lines in the DUs Irae : — 

** Liber Rcriptus proferctufj 
In quo lotum conlinetor, 
Undc mundqs judicctur^" 
Tommaafo sums it up in the fallnwing terse comment :- 
'*Nel mondo li scrisse, ^i& U punioce*** 

anto XXIX. Readings on the Inferno. 


The Falsifiers are of all kind^, namely, Alchemists, 
Forgers, Coiners, Falsifiers of persons, and Falsifiers 
of things. Dante, wishing to describe the loathsome 
state of disease and corruption into which all the 
inmates of this Boigia were plunged^ alludes to the 
story of the famous pestilence of ^gina, and the re* 
peopling of the land by ants changed into men by 
Jupiter at the prayer of King ^liacus. Benvenuto is 
greatly struck by the simile^ and enlarges upon it 
^ft with much detail. 

Non credo che a veder itiaggior tristida 
Fosae in Egtna iL popoi tutto infcrmot 
Quando fu V aer sf pien dl mali^ia,'* 

Che gli atiimali tnfino al piccioL vcrmo 
Cascaron tutti, e poi Le genti anti^he, 
Secondo che i paeti hanno per fermo, 

Si ristorir di Acme di formlche ;f 

Ch' era a vedcr per quella oscura valle 
Lan^uif gli spirti J per diverse bjche.g 



*»w/*ii4; The word means badness of cvciy kind. Here 
it has the sense of pe&tilential miasma, corruption, etc. See 
Voc. diiia CeuiCii, s.v, malixia^ 7 : '' Per inff^zionc, e corruzionc." 

\ittn€ di Jprmichc : In Conv. iv. 27, )L 160168, Dante had 
previously alluded to this mythological episode: "Mostrache 
£aca vccchio fosse PrudenU.^ quanda, avendo per pc&lilenzia dt 
corrompimerrlo d' aere quasi lulto iJ popoln perduto* esso savia- 
mente licorse a Djo. e a lui domand5 lo ristoro delta morta 
gente : c per lo suo seniio, che a pajienza lo tenne e a I>io 
tornare lo fece, lo auo popolo ristorato gli fu magKiorc che 
prima," These newly formed men were called by ^acuB 
Myrmidoni, from ^y^^f an ant, The whole story la related 
in Ovid, Metam. vii, 528-600, 

J Languir gii spirit : Compare Ovid, U. 547, 548 :— 
"Omnia languor habet ; sylvisquc, agri&quc, viisque 
Corpora focda jaccnl." 

^hichf: Blanc ( Tw. Dant.) says that bka is " un ammasso, 

flUfjQ." Others interpret biche as ^ mucchi GfVfrvw di cwoni^' 



Readings em Uu Ii^itno. Canto xxix. 

Qmal sopcm U ventre,* e qtul sopn le afwlle 
L' ua dell' altro Kucca, c qoal caqKnie 
Si tnsmotava per lo tnMo csllc. 
I do not bdievc it was a greater sorrow to see the 
wtiole population of^gina struck down with sick- 
acts — when the atmosphere was so full of corrup- 
tMMk that the animals, even to the little worm^ aJI 
dropped down, and afterwards the ancient races 
(of the Island) according to what the poets hold 
tor a certainU\ were restored from the seed of 
aats- — than it was to sec the spirits Unguishing in 
diTCTsc heaps in that darksome valley. One was 
lying on his belly, and one upon the shoulders of 
wnotber, and one was shifting his place, crawling 
upon dte gitKind aloag the dismal path. 

Benevenuto observes that Dante has in the abo\'e 
dcscriptioQ nfiade allusion to three different kinds of 
Falsifiers ; but that be nil! now speak of a fourth 
species, who sit upon the ground pressed close to- 
gether ; these he seems to have omitted in his more 
general description, 

i/, h«apm, or shcA\xs of com. The Voc, dtUa Cruscm has, b>.v. 
frifii.- "Qv^la maxsa di forma circoUre non molto di^similc dal 
pagliaioTa ridt tf naptd eotn] che &i fa de' cnvoni del gnno 
4uaodD e nueluto. [Latin, sp^icarum, congtriity Compare 
CnniK« M Gic9mmmi MoniU (Florence. 1718, p. m^t "E 'n 
Fireiue non era r<>ba per due mcsi, e ]e ricolte era:fio tottr 
ikHc bichr, e 'n sull' ajc [**rrjAr»r|f-/ftvrj].'* Compare CKid^ U. 

"Quo se cunque acics oculorum flexcrat, Ulic 
Vulgus erat Mratum ; vduti cvm puiria motts 
PoiDa C4dunl ramis ; agitjiUquc itice fElandes. 
* Qaal sa^ra it ventrr : AH the Commcmators seem to «] 
that these are the shades of the Alchemists. Tommai 
careful to point out, however, thai Dante doc* not put 
Alchemists in a place of punishment, bu! only such 
falsifiers. On this the Comento i Anonimtj dwrii, -,* -real 
length. Tommasio and others attribute their i .»- 

dition to their frequent use of mcrcurj*, an opinio 



lit all ■ 

Canto XXIX, Ri:ading& on the Inferno. 



Division HI. — The Poets up to this time had been 
walking quickly and conversing as they went. Their 
whole demeanour is now changed. They move for- 
ward with bated breath, and tFead softly aa persons 
about to witness strange mysteries, or with the silent 
step of those who enter a sick chamber. Their move- 
ments are like those of the attendants or visitors 
passing from bed to bed in the long corridors of an 
Italian hospital. 

Pai^so passa andavam scnza iiermonc 70 

Guardando ed ascoUando gli ammalaEi* 
Che fion potcan Jevar le ior pcfaone. 

Step by step we went without speaking', obscrvm},' 
and listening to the sick, who were unable to raise 
their t)odies. 

Dante now makes out in the gloom two shades un- 
dergoing grievous suffering from the invitation caused 
by skin disease ; and he compares their frantic efforts 
to get relief, to the curry-combing of a horse, or to 
the scaling of a hsh. 

lo vidi due sedere a si poggiati, 

Come a scaldar si poggia teg^hia'"^ a tcgghia, 

*U^ekla also called te^tia) : There arc two kinds of kitchen 
utcn&ifs u&ed as stcwpans in Tuscanv with mugih similarity of 
name, but distmctly diffcreni one from the other. Te^ghia^ 
according to the VoatMario ddta Crusca. ts'*a flat vessel of 
copper, tinned insfdc, in which are cooked tarts, chestnut cake 
{amii^iiaceio:^ and like things." Any one familiar with the bdck 
fttrccU of t^lorcncc will have seen the vendora of Ihc migUaetw 
carrying it in a flat round copper dish under their Rnn. (Sec 
below in the note on itrc^f^hia^ a quotation h^vn Bcrni^s Himf^ 
in which migtiaifit} )s mcntinnedj. Tc^ame is ** a flat earthen- 
ware vcBscj With a raised edge, m which meal is cooked/' At 
the popular ifHtaur.mtH at Tlurcncc any slewed m-al i^ cooked 
in a U^mtu^ and the ttgamt ittielf \^ then placed on a dish as it 
ja and brought hot to table. The V\xaboUtriQ 4tlU Crmui »Ry« 


Readings on the Inferno, Canto XXIX. 

Dal capo al pi^ dl schianzC* maculati : 
E non vidi giammai menare stregghia + 

Da raga££o } aspcttato dal stgnorso,^ 

N^ da colui che mat volcotier vcgghia:l| 
Come ciascun mcnava spesso il morao 

DcU' unghie sopra s$ per la gran rabbia. 


that the word tegghia is also used for an earthenware or iroo 
ve^iisel, which is used as a cover to pl^ce dv^t a plaitc or over a 
ttgattu. fiut in the more general use, Ugghitt i^ a utcDsil of 
copper^ and Ugame is one of red earthenware. The sirailc io 
this passage Is not borrowed from the kitchens of Rtcat people. 
Dante did not write for such as a LucuHus or an Apicius only* 
and bis similes had to be laki:n from the most obvious and 
common objects. 

*sckianz£ : Blanc (Vo£. DaHt.) says the word means the scab 
that forms over a wound that is heating. Compare Pulci, Morg, 
Magg. xili, at. 53;— 

'' Che pen&i tu, che gli de&se un buffetto 
Da far cadergli del capo due schianzi i " 
See also Berni, RiiiK Burttschi^ ed. of 172J, vol. i, p. 105 :— 
•' Con porri e si:hianae, e suvi qualche callo." 

fstrfgghia (or strigliu), derived from the strigiHo and 
the Greek ffrXtyyis, is in modern use an iron instrument with 
iron teeth, with which horses are rubbed down and scraped. 
In ancient times the strigil ^a!> a bron/e instrument used by 
all frequenters of public baths tu scrape off the perspiration 
from the body. In the fullowing quotation from Berni {fttmt. 
La Pfstfy cap. i), we find both the legtia, the siregluty and the 
migtiaccio mentioned: — 

*' Adopraai in quel tempo piOi la tcglia 
A far torte e migliacci ed erbolati, 
Che la scopetta a Niapoli. e la strcglia.** 

InifAivo; A note on this passage in Lord Vernon's iTn/zmo, 
vol. i, says Ihat in the Neapolitan dialect ragatzo was the word 
for a stable-boy, 

^sigttonti : An old ob=;olctc form for fignar su>\ as p^drrmo 
for padre mio^ fratttnui for fruttUit Mtio, itm>rmii for %uora mtut, 
mogluma for mogt'u mia^jigltiwlto fotjigituot tut; and cAsat* for 
casa tua. There iire abundant instances of these forms amoo^ 
the older Italian writers. 

l|cu/jii che mal voUntkr vc^^hia : Scarta^xini remarks that 
such a one plies the curry-comb furiously. «o as to hurry 
through hi6 work «nd get to bed, 


Canto xxrx. Readings on the Inferno, 

Del pi£zicor« che non ha [liu !voccorso> 
E si traevan giQ I' unghie la scubbia, 
Corne coltel di scardova* Ic scaglie, 
Q d* altro pesc« cbe piu larghe 1' abbia> 

I saw two that sat leaning on each olher,^as 
stewpan is propped against stewpan to warm, — 
spotted from head to foot with scabs : and never 
saw I curry-comb plied (so vigorously) by stable- 
boy for whom his master is waiting, or by one 
who ia sitting up against his will (and is eager to 
get to bed) ; as each (shade here) was incessantly 
plying the bite {j.t\ the sharp points) of his nails 
over himself by reason of the wild frenzy of the 
itching ; which has no other relief. And the nails 
tore o^ the scab, just as a knife does the scales of 
bream, or of other fish that has them iargcf still. 

^H Baiioli (Storia deHa Lett, Ital. vol. vi, part i, pp. 

^*t47, 148) says: '* It would seem that the terrible 
imagination of the Poet, in depicling these two last 
Bol^c of the Fraudulet)t, takes pleasure in accumula- 
ting together all that it is possible to conceive most 
repulsive and disgusting. After the mutilated come 
the shades covered with scab, who scratch themselves 
continually, and emit a fetid odour of the most 
sickening description. These are the Falsihers of 
metals, and their raging irritation may perhaps be 

* uardtma : According to some, this ts the Abramis Bramat 
ihc Carp Bream; according to others, the Cypriaui Latits. of 
LinnicuSf a ftsh which from its large number of scales, required 
the use of the cook's knife to remove ihcm. Benvunuto re- 
marka that the satniuva is a certain lar^c sized while fish of 
the valley titrearfts {^iscis vntiinas) of short lengtht having tarj^e 
Bcalts and thick prickles, ;»nd Ihat it is a. pistis ittnm inter 
Viitlitioi ; and in rcft-rence to nltro peace che V nhhia pUi titrghe^ 
he nays that it ao happens thai there in a fish found in the 
valley streams larger than the scardova, and that it is called by 
flomc rt^inaj by othera Scarpa, 

^K 476 Rcudinj^s on the Inferno. Canto xxuc. 1 

^H meant to signify the use they made of things that 
^1 could never satisfy them. It is, moreover^ worthy 
^1 of remark that Aristotle describes lead as porou& ■ 
^H gold ; and these people, who wanted to convert lead 1 
^^ into Rold, are now one mass of putrefying leprosy." 1 
^H Dante, having given his readers a detailed account 1 
^B of the maddening torment of the Alchemists in 
^H general, now proceeds to show who these two are 
^^k that have so riveted his attention, and relates how 
^H one of them is addressed by VirgiL 

^^^^_ ^"'^O tu ch£ caLle dila ti dismaglie,"^ ** 85 
^^^^H Coniinci& il Duca mio all* un di loro, 
^^^^^^^^ — " E che fai d' esse tal voUa tanaglic.t 
^^^^^^^H Dinne «' akun Latino % h tra costorn 
^^^^^^^H Che 5on quinc' entrn, be V unghra ti basti 
^^^^^^^F Eternalmentu a cote!»to lavoro."^ 90 

^H *ii dismofftie : Buti amplifies thts by explaining : "Cioi d 
^H kvi la ^caglia, come si leva dal coretto [thiri o/tnail] mii|;lta 

^H da TTiaKlia." 

^H fUiaa^lU: In La FUra of Michelangelo Buonarroti the 

^H younger, ed. Le Monnier, Florence, ifldg, p. 47; Giom, i. Act 

^^M 2f Mcisacr Equilio. The Judge says:— 

^H '* Del pill di noiiii tai lion ho notixia, 

^H Ma attundi a far trochischi [hzcng^s] di vtpent: 

^H Qucstt \o conosco, e fian molto giovcvoli . 

^H Per colui, che rinvolto nella scabbia, ^^^M 
^H Con tanta frelta si radc e si scortica, ^^^H 
^H CV io non vidi giammai st presta strcgghia ^^^| 
^H Menar da ser\'o che '1 signor sollecili." 1 
^^M To this Me^ser Sano, the apothccar^\ replying, conipn|M^| 
^H the nails to connbs for carding; flax:— ^4^^l 
^H ** N" ho una gran pietS. di tiiicl mcschinOi ^^^ 
^H Che fa dell' ugna p«ttini da Vmo." 
^H I Liitititt: We have before noticed (Canto Jtxii, 65, and Canto 
^H Jtxvii, jjX that by Lalino Dante means an ItuJian, and more 
^H probably one from the South of the Apennines, while l.> all 
^^P Itaiian& to the North of that chain, he U!^ual|y iipplies the term 
^H Lombardo, We see that of these two &hadc», une i» from 
^^ Are220, and the other from Siena. 


Canto XXIX. Readings on the Inferno, 477 

"O thou that art dismailing thyself with thy 
fingers," began my Leader to one of them, "and 
who art sometimes making pincers of thenij tell 
us if there is any Italian among those that arc 
here within, so may thy nails suffice thee for that 
employment to all eternity." 

Benvenuto says that to the scabby man. nothing 
can seem more delightful than to be able to scratch 
himself; for which reasons Virgil tells the shade 
that be augurs for him the continued possession of 
an instrument that will never fail him, and afford 
him perpetual relief. Both Benvenuto and Bull ob- 
serve that as after the relief obtained by scratching, 
the irritation becomes greater than before, so the 
Falsifiers, after having obtained gratification from 
their misdeeds, find they turn into perpetual torment, 
from the stings of a guilty conscience. , 

The shade, who is Griffolino d' Are^zo, after 
answering that they are both ItaUans, ask Virgil 
who he iSj and Virgil tells him. 

— " Latin scm noi, che tu vedi sJ guasti 

Qui ambeduc," — risposc 1' un piangcndor 
— " Ma lu chi seV che di noi domandasti ? " — 
B iJ Duca disae :^" lo son un* che discendo 

Con qu^sto vivo gii) di baizo in bBUo,f 95 

E di moatrar V inferno a lui intentSo."- — 

" Italians are we^ whom thou seest here so dis- 
figured, both of us/' replied one of them, weeping ; 
"but who art thou who hast asked about us?" 

•/o itwi wn : CaiTjpare Inf. Jtxviii, 4&-sai where Virgil speaks 
in preciscty similar terms. 

fdi haizfi in baho : Buti saya this meanii '*di ccrchio in 
cerchio, e di ripa in ripa." Tommasto: "di girone in gironc, 
rapprcitentando 1 gironi come le bal2c digradanti d' un montc." 


Readings tut the tnferno. Canlo XXIX- 

And the Leader said : *' I am one that descends with 
this living msti from Circle to Circle {lit, ledge to 
ledge), and it is inj purpose to show HtrU to him," 

Benvenulo thinks Virsil wishes to imply that he 
has not brought Dante to this place to in&truct him 
in Alchemy, nor yet that he may be punished for 
having practised Alchemy, but rather that he may 
witness the punishments of the Alchemists* and of 
the other lost spirits of sinners in Hell. 

The two shades are considerably startled at the 
information imparted to them, and at once raising 
themselves as well as they can» sit up to look at 
Dante. Botticelli {/Ccichnwigcu nack den Ori^inaien 
^u Berlin, :387, obi. folio) represents them sitting, 
with their backs against each other. The attention 
of the other shades is also arrested. 

Alior si ruppe \o comun rincalzo ; * 

E trt^mando ciascuno a. mc sii voisc 
Con altri chc V udiron di rimbal/o.f 

Then their mutual propping up was broken {i.f. 
they started apart) ; and each turned trembling 
towards me, aa well as the others who had heard 
him by the rebound {I.e. they had only heard 
Virgil indirectly, as his words had not been ad- 
dressed to them). 

* si rupp( lo comun rincalso : Compare In/, xvi, 86, 87 :— 
'' Indi rupper la rota, ed a fuggirsi 
Alt aembi^r Ic Eambe lore snclk." 

i di rimbulzo : Virgil had spoken to the two shades sitting 
together, and hii^ words had bci^n heard, says Bargigi, by ocher 
shades, as it were, by repercussion, and Landino rcmarlu th&t 
the expression is derived from one playing at the i; of 
patlone, who does not return the ball directly, but takes it as it 
rebounds from the end wall, nr, to use a tennis term, "pun 
off " ; and therefore the shades heard the voice, which was not 
directed immediately to themselves. 


Canto XXI X, Readings on the hijirnd. 


Benvenuto thinks the shades trembled from weak* 
ness, being unable to hold up their bodies when they 
no longer had each other's support. 

Virgil now turns to Dante in a paternal and affec- 
tionate manner, and encouraged by him, Dante 
adjures the shades by their hope of being remembered 
in the world to say who they were. 

Lo buon Maestro a me tutto s' accolsc,* loo 

Diccndo : — " Di' a lor ci6 che tu vuoli." — 
Ed io incominciai, poscia ch' t\ volse : 
— " Se La vostra memoria t non s' imboli J 

►i' tiC4oUe : Vdlutello, who in followed by Tommas^o and 
Biagioli^ understands this expression in Ihe sense of s' accestd, 
as in In/, x, 28, where Dante, having been startled at the voice ' 
of l-arinaia degli Uberti, gathers himself close up lo Virgil :— 
. . . pero m' accostai, 
Tcmendo, un paco piu al duca mio.^ 
Others interpret it ; "turned all his attention to me." Frati- 
celh gives both interpretations, without saying which he pre- 
fers, though he puts s' {ucosio first in order^ 

i ta vvstra memoria is equivalent lo *' la memoria di voi,'^ 
Mtmoria here has the forcj of ritfrdametttit, rather, aaya Di 
Siena, as an act of remembrance, than as a faculty. Bono 
GiambonI, an earlv Italian writer, whn flnurished between 
ii6o and ia8o, in his \''iflganz:;aiTfifilo i/d Tesoro iH Ser Brundh 
Latinij Lib. i, cap. 16, has (he following : — 

** Memoria h tcsoriera di tutte cose e ^uardatrice di tutto 
qucllo, che r uomo truova novellamcnte per sottiglieeza 
d^ ingegno^ o che I' uomo imprende d' aLltrui. . . . La memoria 
t comune agli uomini cd agli aitrt animali, ma intendimento 
di ragionc non £: in neuno altro animale che nell' uomo/' 
Compare also Brunctto Latini, Tesontto, cap. vii : — 
" Nel capo son tre celle : 
lo ti dir6 di quelle, 
Davanii i lo ricctto 

Di tutto lo 'ntelletto, 
E la forza d* apprendere 

Ouello, che pu6 iotcnderc. 
Net mcz^o i la ragionCf 
E la discrc^ionc, 
I For foot note sec next page. 


Reitiiw^s on the fnfcrno. Canto xxix. 

Nel primo mondo* dair umane mcnti. 
Ma s' ella viva sotlo molti soli, t 
Ditemi chj voi sicte e di che genti : J 


Che ceme ben da male, 

E *1 toTto dalT iguale. 

Di djctro sta can gloria 

La valente mcmoria, 

Che ricorda e ritcne 

Quello, che 'n cssa vene." 
These two passages are quoted by Nannucci, MarnuUt ddl^ 
Letlcraium Ilalmtia, vol ti, p. 3&2. 

I I i' imttoii : Blanc {\'oc. Dawf.) says this is a very ancient 
form for s' invoH, the b and the tf being in early Italian rcadtly 
inlerchang;eab]e. Compare a passage in the Rime oi Gianni 
Alfani, whfi died about 1327, and nf whom, according to Nan- 
nucci [Martualf^ vol. i, p, 30J. ft seq.\ but few fragments re- 
main :^ 

" Ed hai veduta quelk che m' tmboU 
La vita, star pur dura, 
E non pregar alcun che ti coprjsse," 
Nannucci, who was a native of Signa near Florence, adds 
(p- 505^ footnote) that "this change of the v inlo b is heard at 
the present day in atl our country stdc [coHtibift]^ AsjkfmU for 
JicvoU ; ii^eboiito for ajffievolito.'* 

* Nci primo mvndo : Meaning, the world in which man hvcn a 
mortal life ■ i* itltro moitdo is that to which he passes alter death 
i soUa molfi io/» — *' during many years," Compare tv/. 
vi, 67. 68 ;— 

" Poi appreseo convien che questa caggia 
Infra tre soli.** 
And Ptii^g. XKi, 100102 t — 

*' E per es&er vivuto di lit, quando 

Visse Virgilio, asscntirci un sole 
Piu che nan deggio at mio uscir di bando.** 
For the use of sole in the sense of "■ a day,** compare /■/. 
XXX ill, 54 ;— 

" Infin che 1* aUro sol nc| mondo uaclo,** 
And Virg. ^Ert. iii, 203, 204 ; — 

" Tres adeo incertrts caeca caligine soles 

Erramus pelapo ; totldem sine »idere nacten." 

I (ft che genii : 1'he shade haJ explained (I. 91) that he and 

his companion were Italians (/,af(> srm nm). and ihricf'.rc hv 

the word gtnti in Dante's question he ia evidently a- -i 

from what States they come. The answer of Grift>H: . -> 

this beyond a doubt. See I. 109: — 

'* lo fui d' Arcxffo." ctc< 

Canto KXiX. Reiidings on the Inferno. 

La vnsira Mconcia e fastidiosa pena 
Di palcsarvi a me non vi spaventi." — 


The good Master drew quite close up to me, 
saying ; " Tell them whatsoever thou wilt," And 
I be^an, since he willed it so : " So may the 
remembrance of you not vanish away in the first 
world from the recollection of human beings, but 
so may it live on under many suns, tell me who 
ye are and of what race ; let not your revolting 
and grievous punishment make you afraid to 
declare yourselves to me/' 

Benvemito points out that no sight is more loath- 
some and repulsive ihati that of one covered with 
scabs, sores, and blood ; and that diseases of this 
kind will often entirely hinder a man from making 
himself known> In the allegorical Siense, we are to 
understand that the Alchemists will ever make use of 
secret arts, which they will reveal to no one, unless 
it be to one of their own kidney. 

One of the shades, Griffolino d' Arezzo, replies to 
Dante. Bcnvenuto thinks his story very amtising. 
It seems that Griffolino was a great physicist and 
alchemist of Siena, and with an eye to his own 
emolument he contracted an intimate friendship with 
one Albero, the reputed son of the Bishop of Siena. 
Griffolino had a ^\\h and persuasive tonjjue, and 
under promise of performing wonderful miracles, 
contrived to obtain large sums of money from his 
young dupe. Having heard Griffolino boast that he 
could fly throuf^h the air like a bird, Albero demanded 
that he should be taui^ht the art. But when he 
found that Griffolino only renewed his promises and 
put him off with words, his suspicions were at length 



Readifij^ on Ihe Ittfenpt. Canto xxtx. 

aroused* and on Kis complaining to his father, the 
bishop, the latter caused Griffolino to be tried for 
practising necromancy, and to be burnt to death. 

-"lo fui d' Arcrzo, ed Albero* da Siena,"— 

Klspose 1' un, — " mi fc' metlerc at foco ;+ no 
Ma que] perch' io mori' | qui non mi mcnd-l 
Vcr i ch' io diss! a lui, parlando a gioco, 
Io mi saprei tevar per I' acre a volo : 
B quel ch* avea vAghe2za|| c senno poco, 

*Aibero for Alberto, by which la.ltcr name we find him called 

by Sflcchetti (Novellc xi and xiv). In these novels he baa the 
credit of being exceedingly stupid, and, when required by the 
Inquisitor of Siena tn recite his PaUrnoiin, to have chAngcd 
the words Da nohh hodk into Donna BUodia, a mistake which 
nearly cost hCm his life. 

f mife' metlere al foco : Aquarone {DanU \n Siena, Siena. iS6% 
p. 60) savB'> "That Bishop made very short work ciTthcm fthc 
Heretics^, but it was the custom nfthe lime: for (hey used then 
to burn magician^ enchanters, alchemists, Pd^f^ini, Albigenses^ 
and Heretics of every nomenclature. Frederick 11^ who, in a 
general way, was not on the best terms with the Papal Court. 
was quite ready to oblige them in these matters; and some of 
the most fierce and pitiless edicts against heretics emanated 
from him. Dante alludes to this in In/, xxii\, 65, 66, where 
the Hypocrites are clothed with leaden clonks:— 
*. . . Rruvi tanto, 
Che Federico le mettea di paglla.' 
It was the custom of the time* but no record determines 
wh(ch Bishop it was that burned poor GrifTolino, though some 
have conjectured that tt may have been Bishop BuonfigUo» 
who ruled the Diocese of Siena from 1216 Io 1252.** 

I quel perch* io mvrii : Had Griffolino been condemned to 
Hell for practising ma|:ic arts, his place of doom would have 
been in the Fourth Bolivia among the Diviners. But it was 
not for the crime for which he suflfered death that Minos coa- 
demned him, but for the more heinous sin of atchemy. 

I mena : Compare inf. xxviiij ^6-47: — 

" * N^ morte il ^lUnsc ancor. nA cotpa il mena,* 
Risposc il nvio Maestro a ttirmcntarlo." 

Wvaghtzza : The best inlerprciaiionofthe word in this pa&sa^ 
scem» that given by Blanc, "cuno&ity." The following arc 



Canto XXIX. Rcatfings mt the Jnferno> 


Voile ch' in g]i nostrassi Y arte ; * e solo 113 

Perch' io nol feci Ded:ilo,+ mi fece 
Ardere a tal.f che I" avea per Cigtiuoto.^ 

Ma neir ultima bolgia dellc diccc 

Mc per alchimia che nel mondo usai 

Danni) Min&s, a cui fallar non Icct,'*^ 120 

" 1 was of Arezzo," rcplietl one of them, '* and 
Albeco of SienR had me cast into the fire, but that 

some other interpretations: liargigi : vaniU) asmi ; Landino, 
vana tupiditA ; Veilutello, wt^iia assai, Volpi* Lombardi, Frati- 
celli and Brunone Biancht^ nwHa cunosxta. Ui Siena lliinks 
it meanB a i^trong desire not tempered by scnse^ as when in 
Inf, viii, 54-34, Dante expresses A malicious desire to see 
t'ilippo Argenti soused iii the mire : — 

*' Ed io : ' Maestro, molto sarei vajfo 

Di vcderlo attulTarc in questa broda, 
Prima che noi uscissimo de) lago.'" 
Again Pxitg, x, 103-105 :~ 

'*GU occhi mici ch* a mirar cran intently 
Per veder novitadi, ondt son \flghi, 
Volgcndos] vtr lui non furon lenti." 
And Purg. xv. 83^ 84 : — 

'^ Vidimi giunto in k\i\V altrq girone, 
Si che tacer mi fdr le luci vaghe." 
*V arit : That 1:4. the art of flying, though some think 
f aru tiitifiUtt h intended, as Albero might suppose that the 
black art would be the means employed to (each him, 

t Dedalt> : Dante alludes to this well-known tale of Mythology 
in /«/. avii, iwj'iti ; — 

'* Ni quando Icaro misero le rcni 

Sent] spennar per la scaldata crra, 
Gridando il padre a lui : ' Mala vja tieni/" 
Xatal: The fi is for da^ and Di Siena observes that it is so 
used in constructions in which the following verbs occur: /art, 
taseiarf, itntirc, vcdm^ udirtt and such like. The Voc. dcHa 
Crusca thinks that it is the sign of a sixth case. Compare 
Boccaccio, De<^am. Giorn. ii, Novella 6; "Amenduni gli fcce 
pjipliarc a tre servidori." 

^ihe r tivcit per fi^liuolo : This alludes to his supposed par- 
entage as the son ot the Hishop of Siena. On this Hcnvi;nuto 
scntentiously obser'.'e* : ** licet forte non c&set, quia (icnitus ex 
mcretricc ; et si crat, non audebat diccre quia sacpc saccrdoten 
0|ios dixerc ncpotcs." 

[[. HH S 


Readings on the In/ertw. Canlo XXIX 

for which I died does not brtnj^ me here. The 
truth is that I said to him, speakin;^ in Jest, that 
I knew how to raise myself through the air tn 
flight: and he, who had curiosity and little art, 
insisted that I should teach him the art (of flying) ; 
and only because I did not make him a D^dalus, 
he caused me to be burned by that man (the 
Bishop of Siena), who held him for his son. But 
to the last Bolf^ia of the ten, Minos, who cannot err, 
condemned me because of the alchemy I practised 
in the world," 

Division IV. — Dante cannot forbear from expressing 
his contempt for the vanity of the people of Siena.* 

Ed io dissi al Pocta: — "Or fu ^iammai 
Gentc si vana come la Banesc ? t 
CertD non la francesca ai d' aRsaL" — 

And I said to the Poet : " Now was there ever a 
people so vain as the Sienese ? Certainly not the 
French so much by a long way." 

Benvenuto thinks Dante's indi^^oation was rou? 
at the cruelty as well as at the absurdity of the 
Bishop, who, even more vain than his son* did not 
blush to have a man burned to death for a silly jcsl, 
which he ought merely to have laughed at, and if he 
wanted to consult his honour, he would have done 
far better to have concealed his pique. Benvenuio 

*Siftta : Nothing more offends the Tuscan ear (I was tnid by 
Sir Jamc!i Lacaila) than the habitual mispronunciation nf this 
word by English people. It should be pronounced "Si — i — 
na," but nine English out of Icn say " Sicnner." 

f Gettld si tana cotm la san^s^ : Compare Purg. xiii, lst-154, 
where Sapla of Siena says to Dante : — 

" Tu 11 vcdrai tra qui-Ila Kcnle vana 

Che Rpera in Talamonc. c pcrderi^li 
PiQ di spcran^a, che a trovar ta Diana : 
Ma pill vi mcitcrnnnn gli ammiragU." 

Canto XX!X- Readings on the Inferno. 


adds that the vanity of the French has always been 
proverbial, that it is recorded in ancient times by 
Julius Celsus, and it is seen in Benvenuto's own 
time. No people are like them for the perpetual 
adornment of their persons with new forms of cloth- 
ing and new habits. There is not a single limb to 
which they do not give its own particular costume; 
they have chains on the neck, bracelets on the arm, 
pointed tips to their shoes^ etc. " And therefore 1 do 
wonder (concludes Benvenuto)^ nay it makes my 
blood boil, when I see Italians, and especially the 
Italian nobility, persist in endeavouring to follow in 
their footsteps, and learn the French I a nguage> assert- 
ing that no tongue is so beautiful as the French ; * I 
confess I do not see it ; for the Gallic language is 
merely a bastard of the Latin, as experience teaches," 

The Danish comic dramatist, Ludwig Holberg^ 
who is known as the Moliere of Denmark, and who 
flourished about 1720, has in his celebrated drama 
j€an de trance^ turned into ridicule the absurdities of 
society at Copenhagen in his time, when even un- 
educated persons affected a knowledge of the French 
language which they did not possess, committing, 
in their attempts to converse in it, the most egre- 
gious errors in grammar. 

Dante's sarcastic words have caught the ear^ and 

• Aa an insitancc in the nmcleentb century of the subaervi- 
cncy ofsome lulianstotht French language, which has here 
been &Q condemned by Bcnvenuto m the rourtecnth century, 
the present writer recollects a young gentleman at Pisa, 
desirous of displaying his pruficiency in FrL'ncK saying to a 
Pisan lady: ** Madame, j'ai vu votfc (wii k Ja parte cet apr^s- 
midi," translating into literal French the Tuscan idiomatic 
word fur a carriage [or for a ship] Ugno ! 


Readings on the In/crtw, Canto XXIX. 

excited the sympathy of Griffolino's companion, who. 
as we afterwards learn, is one Capacchio, himself a 
native of Siena, which however does not prevent him 
from vij^orously attacking the folly of his cDuntr\-men, 
and especially assailing those of them who were 
members of the notorious Bngaia Spotdercccia referred 
to in Inf. xiii, 115 et seq. He feigns to beg Dante to 
except them from his general imputation of folly to 
the Sienese, meaninf; of course, that the persons he 
names are the most vain and foolish of alL 

Onde r altra lebbrnsc che m* tntcse, 

Kispose ai detto mio ;^-" Trammene Slricca,* 
Che seppe far le temperate spesc ; 

E Niccii]ti,t cl>e la cosluma t ricca 


* Trammtne Strkm : Others read TrauHe la Siriua. The 
words express strong irony. Dante fcBlly means thai tbc 
per^^nn in qaeslinn, whnsc name in full was Stricca dt Giovanni 
dc'Salimbeni, PodcstAof Bologna in 1276 and again in 1286 was 
one of the most foolishly lavish dissipators of wealth, cvtn of 
the Bri^ata S^ndereccia ; eo he says ironically: *' Always, of 
course, excepting Stricca !** Some say that Stricca i» an ab- 
breviation for Baldastricca^ and that he was of the family of 
tht: Marcscolti of Siena. Compare Jn/^ xx'\, 41 : — 

" Ognun v' h barattier, fuor che Bonluro."' 

4 Nucali> : Nannucci \Mafitfalc dcUa l.ettfratttra, vol. i, |m 341) 
i^ays that Falgorc da San Gemignano probably alludes to tliii 
personagi-* in his Sonttti^ Pr'^'imiuli' ad una nohiU brigatii Jt S^tuti 
in the following lines : — 

" In questo regno Niccold cornno, 
Poich' elli 6 il fior della citli Sancse." 
Nannucci adds that Niccotu dei Salimbcni [who ts also called 
(!<■' /ir»(ij/jH(iii]|^avc his whole mind to inventing new kinds of 
t'xpcnsivc food ;, and amongst other things he devised a tSuStng 
fnr pheasants composed of cloves »nd other costly spicn. 
Some Commentators go so far as to accuse him of ysing the 
cloves as the fuel wherewith he roasted his game, and Ben- 
vcnuto thinks this supposition the most in character. 

I Citstuma Is, according to Di Siena, one of the many nouDS of 
ihc masculine gender, which for the sake of uniformity come 



Canto XXIX. Riadings un the Inferno. 


Del garofano prima discoperse 
Nell' orlo * dove tal seme s' appicca ; 
E tranne la brigata i in cKe disperse 

Caccia c!' Ascian I ta vigna e la gran fronda, 


to be used in the feminine, such as ettra for cUr£; torttca for 
toraci ; orizzonta for orizzontr. Early writers also wrote costufto 
and castuTttio. 

* Nilt f>rto.' Obviously we mu3t take ortu in the sense of 
"garden {horlus}.^' " Dice che semin6 nell' orto, dove tal acme 
s' Bppicchia, il garofano^ cioe mt&c tale uao tra li ghiatti e 
KolosI," {Lana), Others have attempted to shovif that as the 
clove is indigenous in the East, Dant^ meant orto in the sense 
of vrifns. 

t trannt ia brigata : For an account of the Brif^ata Spendenuia 
Qt godtrtccla Ihe reader should turn back to Canto xtii (voL i» 
pp. 479-481 of this work). Folgore da San Gemignano (who 
Nourished in 1260) dedicated to the Bngata a series of sonnets, 
which Uante must certainly have known. He commences as 
follows ; — 

'*AlIa brigata nobile e cortese, 

£ a tutte quelle parte dove sono, 

Con allegrezza slando sempre, dono 

Cani, uccclli, c denari per iShpese." 
In one of the Sonnets written for Wednesdays, the day on 
which the iSri^itta ^avc their banquets, he writes : — 
" Ogni Mercokdi corredo grande 

Di Icpri, starne, fagiani, c paoni, 

E colti man^i, ed arrosti capponi, 

E quante son delicate vivandc i 
Donne c donzcllc star pt;r tuttc bandc, 

Figlic di Re, di Conti e di Baroni^ 

E donzellett) gtnvani garzani 

Servir, portando amoroae shirlande: 
Coppr, nappe, bacin (V oro c d' argcnto, 

Vin greco di riviera e di vcrnaccia, 

Frutta, confetti quanti 11 i 'n talento: 
E preacnlarvi ucccllagioni c caccia, 

E quanti sono a sue ragionamento 

Sieno allegri e con la chiara faccla." 
ICaccia d' Asfian : Scartazjini {EdUione Minort, Milano, 
1893) says tht!i person was *'degLi Scialen^^hi del ramo dci 
Cacciaconti *': and he quotes the lollowing from the Comtt$enUt 
di Graiiolo dt' Bambu^iwU^ p'dhY\\t\iK:A at (Jdme in 1S92 : '*Con- 
Kumpsit oinneR pus&cs&ionea ct alia bona in dicta bngata/' 

Readings on (he Infctna, Canto XXIX, 

E r Abbaf;liato * il suo senno proferse, t 

WKereat the other leprous one, who had heard me, 
answered my words: '*AlwHys escepting Stncca, 
who knew how to spend moderately; and Niccolo, 
who lifat discovered the cosily use of the clove in 
the ^'arden where such seed takes root [re, amon^ 
the extravagant gluttons of the Brigata Spen^ 
(kreccia) ; and excepting that company in which 
Caccia d' Aseiano dispersed his vineyards and vast 
forests [lit. the vine and the great bough), and 
Abbagliato displayed his great wisdom. 

The shade now passes on to tell Dante of his oi 
identity. Benvenuto remarks that in doing so h" 
mentions his own name, his intelligence and bis 

Ma perche sappi cbl si ti secnnda. 

Contra i Sanesi, aguzza v£r me V occhio^ 

Si che la faccla mia ben ti risponda ; 135 

* i" Abt'tifihalo : Di Siena remarks that some have errone- 
ously supposed abifii^Hato fda^^led] to he only an attribute 

^igr"^ ■ 

sly supposed abbagHato [daailed] to be only an attrib 
' the sitino of Caccta d*^ Asciano, and signifyin]!; that the l«tirr 
expended the small wits he bad in the Brigata SpcnJeretcia ; but 
the flllusjor is evidently to a real person, HartoJommco di 
Ratiieri (lei Folcacchieri, who is said by Landino and Ih-c Ottimo 
to hnvc been a man of small means but of ^ood abilities, whidi 
however he entirely sacrificed from keeping company with 90 
dissipated a set of spendthrifts. 

f il suo aitnio pry^fcnc : Aquarone (DattU ift Sutta, Siena, 1865. 
p. 4K) suggests that AbbaRliato was the poor man of the 
" Spendthrift Club" who paid his way by his amusinR )okea. 

luf(ttssff vcr int C i>cchio is literallj': "sharpen ihine ejre 
towards me^" i.e. look fixedly «t me. Compare Inf. xv, zo, 
ai :— 

" E si vdr noi agur^avan te ciglia 
Come 1 vecchjo sartor fa nella cruna." 
And Purg-. vili, 19-31 ; — 

" Aguzza quit I-cttor, ben gU ncchi al vero, 
Cb^ il velo c!^ ora ben tanto Kottile, 
Certo, che il Irapassar dentro h legi^icro.*' 

Canto XXIX. Rcadi7igs on the Inferno. 

Si vcdrai ch' io son V ombra di Capocchio,* 
Che fabai li mctaUi con alchimia, 
E li dfii ricordar, se ben t' adocchio, 

Com' io fui di natura buona acimia."-- 

But that thou mayest know who thus seconds 
thee against the Sienese, sharpen thine eye tO' 
wards me, so that my face may give thee the right 
response (to thy wish to know my identity) ; so 
will thou Bee that I am the shade of Capocchio, 
who falsified metals by alchemy', and thou shouldest 
recollect, if I eye thee rightly, what an excellent 
ape of Natufe 1 was {i.e. how admirably I coun- 
terfeited Nature)." 

Benvenuto remarks that Dante, who calls Capoc- 
chio '* an ape of Nature," really would seem to have 
been himself a more noble ape than any one else 
ever was, seeing that he knew so wonderfully and so 
subtly to discern and recognise the natures of men 
of every condition, profession or fortune whatsoever, 
as well as how to depict their habits, their ways, and 
their idiosyncrasies so usefully, and with a greater 
charm than had ever been done before. 

* Cuf^ofeltio : There ia some difference of opinion as to whether 
Capocchio was a Sienese or a Florentine. He is said by some 
to have been a feilow-atudeni with Dante in the Schools of 
Natural Philosophy. Benvenuto tells us that he was an artist, 
and that one Good Frida3' Dante came upon him in the cloisters 
of a certain convent, and found that he hnd been painting on 
each of his naits, with the most marvellous art and minuteness, 
(he different scenes of the Passion of our Lord. Surprised by 
Danic, he foolishly Licked off with his tongue what had taken 
him such a long time to execute ; and it is for this waste of 
hia taknt9 that Dante contemptuously terms him " a good ape 
of Nature/* 


«i tk€ Infemo, Canto XKIU 



i= ooecnxuATVxe of the FAtsirtgRs or 

\ OF- WQftSS-StMXS or TkOV. 

I of tbe wious (orments 

of Falsifiers t& continued, 

: «f the CjuMo brings as at length to the 

: k isto three puts. 
Ia IkMBM I fe«a «<eff. I to \xs. 45, Dante men* 
the FaLifcjs ef Fersoofi.^ among whom he 
)^rfHA a^ Gbni Schicchi. 
la AmM II* froM ver. 46 to vcr. 90, he describes 
Ar to—jt of the Co«rs« who arc all aBtictcd with 
^Mpsgr* eoMSfieHMHi aaoDg them being the shade of 
jeacmo abbbb aa Drasoa. 

In XyiMi'w nU fc«n ver. 91 to ver. X48, Dante 
sees the FiJiifafn ef Won^ sttfiering from burning 
iever, umd iiwnng then IWipha r's wife and Sinon of 
Ttajr. Aa waamemfy aquahbic between the tatter and 
Mftesm Aiteoo brings the Canio to an end. 

Oitisiam T. — ^There is im> break or int 
between the la$t Canto and this one. The 

Canto XXX, Readings on the Inferno, 



scene is before the reader, and we still have before 
us one of the actors. But whereas the Falsifiers of 
every sort are present, the description of their tor- 
ments travels from one sort to another. Capocchio 
and Griffolino, the Falsifiers of Metals^ are still on 
the scene, but two Falsifiers of Persons are now in- 
troduced, one of whom makes a violent onslaught 
upon Capocchio. The Falsifiers of Persons are 
attacked with acute mania, and Dante, wishing to 
describe adequately how furious that mania was, re- 
calls two personages from mythologj.' and ancient 
history, whose insanity took the most violent and 
dangerous form. These are Athamas, l^ing of 
Thebes, and Hecuba, Queen of Troy. 
Athamas is first mentioned, • 

Nel tempo chc Junone era crucciata 

Per Seinel^ i contr'^ il ^an^ue tebano, 
Come mostr6 una ed aJEra flata,| 

* Lana gives very far-fetched ititerpretalioriB of these similes, 
assigning to the different personages in the respective tales 
characters in which ihey arc iiupposed to portray firc^ air, 
earthy and water. Jupiter, he thinks, represents active virtue ! 
i SiwuU: Dante alludes again to this fable in Par, xxi^4-i3 : — 
*'-..• S' io rides*!,' 
Mi comincid, ' tu ti faresti quale 
Fu Scmtl^, quando di cener fessi ; 
Che la bf Liez^a mia, che per le scale 

Dell' eterno palazzo piu s' acccndc. 
Com* hai vcduto^ quanto piii si sate, 
Se non si temperasse, tanto aplcnde, 

Chc iL tuo mortal potcrc al suo fulgore 
Sarcbbe fronda che tuono acoficcnde.'" 
Beatrice means that were she to display her glorified amite, it 
would consume Dante in a moment, just as Scm<ie was con- 
nimcd when her prayer to be allowed Io see lhcf;lory of Jupiter 
was granted, 
I MM td alira /iata : There is a marked diflcrcncc between 

^a lieadiugs on tlw Inferno. Canto xxx. 

Atamatile* divenne Unto insano, 

Che veg^endo la moglie con due fi^li 

Andar carcata da cia&cuna mano, 
Gridti : — "Tendiam Ic reti, si cti' io pigli 

La leonessa e i ieoncinJ al varco :"— 

E poi distese i dispicuti artigli, 
Prendendo I' un chc avea nome Learco,+ 

E rotoilo, e percosselo ad wn sasso ; 

E quella s' annegfi con V altro carco. J 

this exprcssiDn, which means on more than one occasion^ tnd 
'•1' uiiat V rtttrafiatit" vfhxzh signifies on two occasions only. This 
is explained in the dtfiant conversation that takes place between 
Danlc and Fannata deftli Ubcrti {/n/.s, 46-50), where, Fahnata 
having said of Dante's aficcsloris ; — 

'*.,,' Ficramente Turo av%erM 
A me cd a' mici primi ed a mia parte. 
Si chc per due fiate gli dispcfsl,' 
[Dante replies scornfully] ; 
"■S' ei furcacciati, ei tornAr d' o^ni parte' 
Rispoa' io Lui, ' V una e L' altra Aata ; 
Ma i vostri non appreser ben quell' arte.'*' 
*Alartta»te : For the mythological legend of the madness of 
Athamas, King of Thebes, brought about by the resentment of 
Juno against his race on account of the love of Jupiter for 
Semele the daughter of Cadmua, Dr. Moore (Studus in DanU^ 
1, pp. 21^ 2i j), obseri'cs that Danlc has quite evidently wntten 
the story with Ovid, Mctam. iv, 511-529, before his eyes. 
Compare II. 512-514: — 

"■ Protinus .'EoUdcs media funbundus in aula 
Ciamat, Io, comitcs, his relia tendite silvis I 
Hie modo cum gemina visa est mihi prole leacna." 
iLcarco . « , roioihj et scq : Compare Ovid, Mttam. iv, 515' 

" , . . Parva Lcarchum 
Bracbia tendentem rapit, et bis tcfquc per auras 
More ratal fundac, rigidoque infttntia saxo 
niscutit osaa feroji," 
lqu<!{ii s' anncgd coH f attro c^rco: The death of Ino is tJius 
described by Ovid [il'uf. 518-529):— 

*'. » » Turn denique conclta mater 

Exululatf passisquc fugit male sana capillis: 
Tcque ferena parvum, nudia, Meljcerla, taccrtia. 


Canto XXX. Readings on the Inferno. 


Al the time when Juno on account of Semde was 
incensed against the Theban race {tit, blood), 
as she showed more than once, Athamas became 
so maddened, ihal seein*^ his wife come laden 
on either hand with their two sons, he cried : 
"Let U3 spread the neta so that I may calch ihe 
lioness and the lion-cubs on the passage:" and 
then he stretched out his pitiless talons, seizing 
the one who was named Learchus, and whirled 
him round, and dashed him against a rock; and 
she (his wife) drowned herself with her other 
burden (r.c. child). 

E quando la fortuna * volse in basso t 

Evoc, Bacche, sonat. Bacchi sub nomine Juno 
Kisit ; et Hos ut^us prat^stct tibi, dixit, alumnus^ 
Tmminct aequoribus scopuius \ pars ima cavatur 
FluetibuH. et tectas defcndit ab imbribuK undas ; 
Summa rif^ct, frontcmquc in apertum porngit aequor. 
Occupat hunc (virCH insania ft^cerat) Ino \ 
Sequc super pontum, nulla tardata timore, 
Mitttt, unustjui suum" 
Dr. Carlyie favourably compares the terseness of Dante with 
the verbosity of detail in Ovid, and also "the fresh touches by 
which he shows the ver)' heart of the story here and else- 

* fortuna : Wc have here a parallel to what Dante says about 
Fortune in /«/. vii, 67-96. Note especially II. SS-go:— 
" Lc sue permula^ian non hannn trieguc: 
Necessity la fa esser vclocc, 
Si spcsso vicn chi vkenda cousegue/^ 
And II. 95, c)6: — 

"Con r altre prime crtature licta 
Volvc sua apera, e bcata si giide." 
Compare also Pur, xvi, 79-84 : — 

" LrC voKlrc cose tutCe hannci lor morte 
Si Come voi ; ma cclatti in alcuna 
Che dura molto, e Ic vite son corte. 
E come it volfjer del cici ddla luna 
Copre e distoprc i liti scriisa posa, 
Cit»\ fa di Fiort'Oiia )a fortuna." 
i vohe in bitaso : tmplyinj; thai the prosperity t>f Troy, by a 
downward turn of the wheel uf Fortunu-^ was brought to the 
lowest deprtision. 


Rea4in{^ on the Inferno. Canto XXX. 

L' altezza dc' Troian che twtlo nrdiva,* 
Si ch(r idbjcme cftl rcgnn j| re fu caasoj-f 
Ecuba X trista misera c cattiva,§ 

Po^ta che vide Polissena 11 morta. 


*che iuttoardiva : This means." which hesitated at nothing "^j 
not even at such crimes as the (reachery of King Laomedon 
to Hercules, or the rape of the Grecian Queen Helen by the 
Trojan Paris. 

fcasso: The verb cassarc is to destroy, annihilate, blot ouU 
Compare Gni. vii, 4: "and every living substance that 1 have 
made will 1 destroy \marg. nf. * blot out '] from off the face of 
the earth." And Ex. xxxii, 33: '"Whosoever hath s^inocd 
against mc, him will I blot out of my book." And DtuL ix. 
14 : *' Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out 
their name from under heaven." In modern Italian telcgraphvi 
the words una parolti caaata written on a telegram, signify ■" one 
word erased." Beflvcnuto points out how very a|>propriatc i» 
the expression fffjap, for in this unhappy incident, king, queen, 
and the whole of the blood royal, perished with the kingdom. 
Hut, he says, that tn mo^t cases where a king is dethroned and 
his power destroyed, it usually happens that the realm con- 
tinues entire, though transferred to another authoftly, as 
happened iu the cases of Tarquinius Superbus, and nthen. 

J Ecuha : After the destruction of Troy» Hecuba, the widow 
of King Priam, was with her daughter PoSyxcna carried captivr 
into Greece. Buing bereaved of Polyxena, who was offered up 
as a victim upon the tomb of Achilles, and then tindint; on the 
aea'shore the dead body of her son Polydorus, who had been 
murdered by hia treacherous protector Polymnestor. King of 
Thrace, Hecuba became insane from grief, and the lamenta- 
tions she uttered were said to resemble the barking of a dog. 
See Euripides Hfcuba. Also Ovid, Metam, xiii, 404-4.06 : — 
" Troja simul Priamusque cadunt : Priameia conjux 
Perdidit infclix hominis post omnia fi>rmam, 
Extemasque novo latralu terruit auraa." 

^cattiva: The primary signification a{ caitivo is (from ihr 
Latin cubtivus) prigmufro. It next comes to mean ^* unhappy, 
miserable, discontented "; and eventually after several inter- 
mediate gradations lakes the meaning by which it ik generally 
known, namely, "the contrary of ^ood, wicked." The Greek 
word TToajj^f seems to have gone through a precisely simiUf 
change of meaning. 

WPoinsenn : Compare Ovid, Miiam. xiii, 448: — 

" Placet Achilleos mactata Polyxena manes.** 

Canto XXX. Readings on the Inferno. 495 

E del suo Polidoro* in siiila riva 
Del mar si fu la doLoroiia accort^i, 

Forsennata latro si come cane ; + ao 

Tanto il dolor Ic fe' la mente torla. 

And when Fortune turned downward the pre- 
eminence of the Trojans who dared all things, so 
that the King (Prtam)to{;ether with his realm was 
annihilated ; (Queen) Hecuba;, sad, broken-hearted^ 
and a captive, after she had seen Polyxena dead, 
and when the sorrowing woman discovered her 
dead Polj'dorus on ihe sea-shore, she, out of her 
scnseSj barked like a dog; to such a degree did 
^rief distort her mind. 

Dante next shows how neither of these examples 
of raging madness can compare with the fur>- of the 
two shades whom he now describes- 

Ma j\h di Tebe furie nh Troiane 

Si vider mai in alcun tanto crude, 

Non puntJCT bestie, non cJie membra uiijane, 

Quant' io vidi in due ombre f<morte c nude 25 

Che mordendo correvan in quel modo 
Che il porca quando del porcil si schiude. 

But neither furies of Thebes {i.e. Athamas) nor of 
Troy il.c. Hecuba) were ever seen in any one so 
cruel, not in goading beasts, much less huni;^n 

*PQlidoro: Compare Ovid MeUttt, xiii, 536: — 

" Adspicit ejectum Polydori tn littore cofpua." 
itaird ii come cane : Compare Ovid^ ihid, ^d-j^^dq : — 
". . . At haec missum rauco cum murmurc saxum 
Morsibus insequilur ; rictuque in verba parato 
Lalravit. gonata loqui." 
Cane is used here by Dante for eagna^ a use which^ though un- 
commtw^ is not wholly exceptional. In the Rim4 of Agnolo 
Fircnzuola [O^trt, 5 vols. 8vo, Milant)., iHoi, Vol. 4, p. toa), in 
the Satira a S. Pandntfn Puici. Ihe following pasiafje occurs;- — 
" Dondc Ic vied qucsta supcrbia adunque 

A questa arpia, a qu>e»ta furia, a qucsta 
Kabbiosa cane, a questa orribil tigre*" 


Rfaditi^s on the Inferno. Canto 

limbs, as I saw in (wo pale and naked shades, 
thfit rati alKiut btlin^' in that savage way that 4 
boar does when he is let out of his sty. 

The two shades^ as we shall presently see^ are 
those of Gianni Schicchi and Myrrha, 

Capocchio is now set upon by one of the maniac 
shades, aiid his companion GriffoHno tells Dante wha 
is the ag^i'sssor. 

1/ una giun^^e a * Capocchio, cd in aul nodo 
Del collo t r assann6 si che tirando 
Grattar i^li fecc il ventre al fondo soda jo 

R V Aretin, che rimaac Ircmando* 

Mi djsse : — " Quel follctlo J i GianAi Schiccht, 
E va rabbiosD aJtrui coal canciando." — 

One seized upon Capocchio. and in the nape of 
his neck so fixed its fangs, that dragging him, it 
made his belly grate along the solid bottom (of the 
Bolgiii). And the Arctine (i.e. GriffoH no), who re- 
mained trembling', said to me : ** That mad sprite 
is Gianni Schicchi, and rabid he goes about 
mangling others in that fashion." 

The best and fullest account of the doings of 

*f(iunu- ti : Among the various significatton-s of ihifc verb 
given by the Vot. dtlta Crusta (Manuzji> the best seetnt to 
be ^ xt, atchiapparir Cir. KaraXtitM^dint*. Compare Boccaccio* 
Detam. Ginrn. vii, Nov. 6: " Mcsser Lambcrtuccic, mes»o i| 
p\h ncUa JitatTji. e montato su« non disse altro, kc non *■ Al 
corpo di Dio io il i;iu£nerd allrovc,' et anddi via/* 

f noJo dd coiio : Sonic have tried to prove that t^antc meant 
the ptiniif d' AiiaiTut in the front of the throsii, hut all the 
best Commentators arc agreed that the whole action of the 
two personufica in the scene shows that the one ran a/tcr the 
other, and iittaciicd him behind, fastening his teeth in the 
ccr^i icaL vertebrae. 

i/clUito: S.aria^^ini says this is properly the epithet •!»> 
plied to ccrt*iin iniali>;nant spirits, which, superstition a^cncd, 
and fitill avers, went tlyin); about through the air^ and caiMing 
disturbance am»ni; the habitations of men. 


Canto XXX. Kcudings on the Inferno. 


Gianni Schicchi is given by the Anmtimo Fiori-ntino : 
"This Gianni Sticchi [most texts read Schicchi] was of 
the family of the Cavalcanti of Florence, and it is said 
of him that Messer Buoso Donati (see Inf. xxv, 140), 
being afflicted with a mortal illnesSj was desirous of 
making a will, inasmuch as he felt he had a good 
deal of other people's propertj^ of which he was bound 
to make restitution. His son Simonc kept parleying 
with him to persuade htm not to do so, and he 
parleyed so long that at last Buoso died [intestate]. 
When he was dead Simone kept him hid, and was in 
much tribulation lest he might have made a will 
before he fell ill, and many people said he had. 
Simone, not knowing whose advice to take, asked 
that of Gianni Sticchi. Now it so happened that 
Gianni had a talent for counterfeiting every man, 
both with voice and gestures, and especially Messer 
Buoso, with whom he was very intimate. So he 
said to Simone, * Send for a notary, and tell him that 
Messer Buoso wants to make his will : I will get 
into his bed, and we will shove him behind, and 1 
will wrap myself well up, and put hts night-cap upon 
my head, and I will dictate the will in the terms 
^thou desirest, though, to speak the truth, I want to 
^Bg;et some profit out of it.' Simone agreed to this ; 
^^ Gianni got into bed, showed himself very ailing, and 
counterfeited the voice of Buoso so perfectly that he 
seemed to be his very self, and commenced to dictate 
his will and to say : ** I leave twenty soldi to the 
building fund of Santa Reparata, five lire to the 
Minor Friars, and five to the Pudicatori,' and in this 
way he began leaving legacies for works of charity, 




Rfadift^s on the Infemn. Canto TCCtl' 


but for very small sums, at which Simone was rejoic- 
ing, when the testator added : * And I leave five 
hundred florins to Gianni Sticchi." At this Simone 
exclaimed : ' Yes, but thou must not put that in 
the will ; I will give him whatever sum thou leavest ! * 
Gianni replied : ' Simone, please to allow me to leave 
my property as I like ; I trow thou shouldesl be con- ■ 
tent, as I am going; to leave thee so well off,' Simone. 
thi'ough fear, was constrained to hold his peace. 
Gianni went on : * And I leave to Gianni Sticchi my I 
mule ' ; for Messer Buoso had the best mule in all 
Tuscany. ' O Messer Buoso,' cried Simone, • he 
does not care much for that mule, indeed he used 
not to be good friends with her.' * Anyhow/ re- 
plied Gianni Sticchij ' he cared more for her than 
you do.' Simone began to ^et very angry ^ and to 
writhe with rage, but fear kept him silent. Gianni 
Sticchi went on : ' And I leave moreover to Gianni 
Sticchi one hundred florins due to me from such and 
such a neighbour of mine ; and for the lemainder I 
constitute Simone my residuary legatee^ on this pro- 
visOf that he must see every bequest executed Knthin 
fifteen days, failing which the entire heritage is left 
to the Minor Friars of the Convent of Santa Croce/ 
Gianni then ^oi out of the bed, in which ihey im- 
mediately replaced Messer Buoso, and they began 
lamenting, and announced \\\% death/'* 

* Readers of Charles Lever's nm-cl The Cai^eisiam of Com 
Crfgatt wjH recollect a similar incident, in which Con's uthcrj 
accedes to tht- request of the younjEjer son of « recently d 
ceased farmer to personate the latter, and leave the proper 
to the said >ounj;i;r son. The will is dictated before witnc»»««, ' 
and the counterfeit father concludcfii by leaving to himMrll tbe 


Canto XXX. Readings on ike Inferno, 


Dante seeing that Qriffolino is evidently terrified 
lest the other raving shade should fasten on him» 
adjures him, hy all his hopes of escaping the assault, 
to tell him who it is. 

— "O,"— diss* io lui, — -'sc ]' altro non ti ficchi 

Li denti adtjosso, npn ti sia fatica 35 

A dir chi h, pria che di qui sj spiccbi." — * 

" O," said I to him, " so may the other not set his 
teeth on thee, let it not weary thee to tell who it 
is before it departs from hence," 

Gnffolino tells Dante that the last shade is that of 
Myrrha, daughter of Cinaros, King of Paphos, guilty 
of abominable incest ; and that both she^ as well as 
her companion Gianni Schicchi, who (as we related 
above) helped to falsify a willj perpetrated their crimes 
by the successful personation of others. 

two most valuable acres on the whole farm, Charles Lever 
resided at Florence, must have known the story of Gianni 
Schicchi> and probably founded upon it tKe incident narrated 
in his novel. 

♦it ipitthi: Equivalent to the French &' eloigner; and the 
Latin disuJ^n. Greek thraj^tjpfii'. Compare Purg. xxi, jo6- 
loS: — 

'^Che riso c pianto son tanto seguaci 

tAlla passion da che ciascun si spicca, 
Che men aeguon volcr nei p'tii veraei." 
Ripare also Anoslo, Orl. Fur. x, st^ 26:^ 
" Ma i venti chc portavano tc vele 
For r altro mar rii quel giovane inBdo, 
Porlavano ancti t prieghi e le quercle 
^H Dell* infelice Olimpia e '1 pianto e 'I grido; 

^ft La qual tre volte, a s^ stessa crudeic, 

^r Per affo^arsi *i spicca da) lido." 

Compare also Boccaccio. Occam. Giora vii, Nov. a : " chft non 
fo II di e la nnttc allro chc filarc, tanto che la came mi s* h 
spiccsta dall' unghia.*^ Spiccan is the contrary f>{ appiccare. 

{takti i(s 



"500 Readings on the Inferno. Canto 

Ed cgli a me : — ^* Quell* i 1' anima antka* 
Di Mirra scellerata,t chc divenne 
Al padre, fuor del dritto amorc, amica^ 

Questa a peccar con casa cosi venne 
FaUificando s& in altrui forma. 
Come I' allro chc \h sen va soslenne,^ 

Per guadagnar la donna della tormaf^ 
FalBiAcarc in it Buoso Donati, 
Tcstando, e dando al tcstamento norma." — \ 




* antica : Meaning that Myrrha was a personage of old ttme* 

of ancient history. The use of the word is frequent in iKe 
Divina Commediu, See /w/ i., n6: "gli anlichi sprriti dajtnti "; 
/»/> ii, la:;^: 'M' antica Rachele"; and Inf. v, yi : " le donnc 
antiche c i cavalieri." 

•^ Mirra scelieraid : This unsavoury slory is related in Ovid. 
Metam. x, 300-503. In Dante's Epistle to Henry VH, \E^i$t. 
vi)^ II, 146-148), he compares Florence to Myrrha: "haec 
Myrrha scelesta et impia, in Cinyrae patris annplexus ei- 
aesLuans/' Dl SiCna observes that there exists a very ancient 
translation of this epistle, in which the above paesa^e runs *» 
follows; "Questa ^ Mjrra scelerata ed cmpia, U qusJe %* in- 
fiamma nel fuoca dfg^i abbracciamcnti del padre," 

Isi^sictme: The full effect of the word here is noton^ythe 
daring to do Xhv deed, but to have the hardihood and constancy 
to go through so long an ordeal, and to keep up the trnpoatur: 
before many witnesses,, Gianni himself dic^alin^; all the clauses. 
and discussing with the notary the legal forms, 

J^ lit diinna deiia tfltma : in the Comento dt Anonimo (cd. Lord 
Vernon, Florence, 1848) theanimal mentioned is a marc, known 
by the name of Madonna Tonina [la piU httia chaytittet ckf fasu 
in una h^ma dura statu daso Buoso^ la tjualt chavalia si (kiamax^ 
Mitiiouna Totiinn]. 

\\danda al Ifstamenh norma: Di Siena remarks that Dante 
has first used the wnrd tc^tftrtdo, which siffmiies making a di>- 
pDHition according to the exact terms prescribed by law: dan 
una norma is the same as darif una rf^<iia, in accordance wi(h 
which a thinjj has to be carried out. It might therefore be 
contended that Giunni may be said to have daio nonmt *i 
tcslnmcnici^ in that he not only fulfilled all the duties of tbf 
testator, but even of a jurisconsult and a notary. Di Sieiu 
prefers the inlcrprctation that Buaso f^hifu^ in alt' Ji tt^t^u* 
dar norma al tcsiautititt), taking twrmu not so mtich wilh the ide* 
of Icf^al forms, aa of regular order in which wc find the notV7 



r 1 

^" Canto XXX. Reudm^s un the Inferno. 501 ■ 

And he lo me : " That is the ancient shade of ^^H 
abandoned Myrrha, who became her father's con^ ^^^| 
cubine in unhallowed love. She came to sin with ^^^M 
him after this manner, falsifying herself mto ^^^| 
another's form, even as the other (Gianni Schicchi) ■ 
who is going away there, had the hardihood, that 
he might gain the queen {i,^. the fairest mare or 
she-mule) of the stud, to counterfeit in his own 
person BuofiO Donati, making a witl, and (giving 
to the will due legal form," 

Division 11. — We are now to witness the piinish- 
ment of the Coiners, who are Falsifiers of Money. 
^kWe are not specially introduced to them ; Dante 
merely remarking that as Myrrha and Gianni Schicchi 
rushed away, he looked round to see who else there 
might be worthy of his notice, 

^B B poi chc i due rabbio&t fur paasati, 
^^ Sopra cu^ lo avea 1' occhlo tenuto. 

taking down in writing and improving llif Icstamtnlary act 
according to forms pTc&Cfibed by the law, wKjIc the tt-stator 
is dictating his wishes. In that way wc sec with what iifin- 
summmte fraudulent art Schicchi was able to keep up the 
Bcene for so lan|{ a time, and represent his part in a way to 
deceive every one. Di Siena tninka that the will in which 
Schicchi personated Buoko was a nunatpative will, and that 
Danlc, by the words iiando at tatnmaxtQ %wnna, intended, by 
poetic elocution^ to ^ifjnify the same; and by nomxa he only 
meant the declaration of the tcatatiiir, in accordance uilh 
which the will would then be drawn up i» ettcnso by Iht notary. 
Also that this twrma is called in Justinian's Cod<x, Lib- vi, Til. 
^^Jixit, Lex 8, iHoihmtiWi voluntuiis: '^'Ilac cnnsultissima lei^e 
^^bancimuR, ut carcntett oculis, seu morbo (viiiovtr], hcu ila 
^H«m(i, per nuncupationem suae condant moderamlrpa voluntatis, 
Tstihccl] praescntibusseptem teaiibus*. . . cdoccant," etc. Di 
Siena contend;! that Dante has himself told us in this passage 
[: what the commentators had not observed, by dctermininK the 
special testamentary form that Simonc and Gianni Schicthi 
elected in order to accomplish their fraud. ^^^| 

^H 502 Readings on the Inferno. Canto XXX^J 

^^^^^ Rivolsilo a gua.rdar g]i altri mfil nati**^ ^^^| 

^^^^H And when the pair, upon whom I had kept ^^H 
^^^^H my eye» had passed on, I turned it to took upon ^^H 
^^^^P the other wretched (souls). fl 

^H Dante next describes the chastisenrjent of one J 
^V particular coiner, Adamo da Brescia^ his interview 1 
^B with whom lasts till the end of the Canio. He ^ 
^H specifies the nature of the torment by comparing 
^H Adamo'^ appearance to that of a lute : because the ■ 
^B shade in question Is afflicted with dropsy^ and there- 1 
^H fore exhibits a long emaciated face and neck and a 1 
^H swollen belly. Benvenuto gives at great lengfth I 
^B various reasons for the peculiar adaptability of dropsy m 
^^^^ as a punishment for Coiners. ^^B 

^^^^H lo vidi un fatlo » guisa. di liuto, ^^^H 
^^^^H Pur ch* egli ave&&e avute 1' anguinaia ^^^| 
^^^^H Tronca dal lato che ]* uomo ha forcuto. ^^^H 
^^^^^1 La grave idropisi, chc si dispaia 
^^^^H Le membra t con V umor che mal convertc,j; 
^^^^H Che il viao non risponde alia vemram. 

^^H * mal nati : The Grnn DizioHar^o^ s.v. malnaiOy \ z, tnlerprvtQ 
^H tKe word vjatnato, as " Seiagurato." Compare Ariosto, OfU 

^H Fur. »vti, %.{, j: — 

^H '^Di questo abfaiam non pur al tempo antiqun, 
^^1 Ma ancora al nostro, chiaro capcrirrxnto^ ^^ 
^^m Quando a noi, greg:gL tnutili c mal nati, ^^^H 
^H Ha datn per guardian lupi airabbiati/' ^^^H 
^^m tcAf si di&paia le mtmhra : The effett of dropsy is to dcatro)' 
^^M the just proportion between the dilTcrcnt parts of the bodjr, 
^^^ Some become j^wollen^ Dthcr» emaciated. 

^^B Iconverte: Di Siena obsei^'es that nearly all the Com- 
^^H mcntators take the verb coHvrrUw m the sense of Tolransmutt, 
^^M to work out, to direct, to assimilate. He does not think Danle 
^^M has wished to show himself more pathologist than poet from 
^B his having explained to us incidentally the nature o( the tlwease, 
^r but has merely intended to draw attention to the fact, leaving 

o XXX* Readings on the Inferno. 

Paceva a lui tener le tabbra aperte. 
Come L' ctico fa, che p^r la scte 
L* un verso IL mento e l' altro in su rivertc* 

1 saw one shaped in fashion of a lute, if only he 
had had his groin cut short at that part which man 
has forked- The heavy dropsy, which so dispro- 
portions the limbs with the moisture which 
perverts all food, that the face no longer corre- 
sponds to the belly, forced him to keep his lips 
wide open, as docs the hectic patient, who from 
thirst curls one (lip) towards his chin, and the 
other one upwards. 

Dante makes the shade last mentioned manifest 
himself by his namc» his crime, and his punishment. 
— "O voi, chc senza alcuna pena stete 

(E non so io perche) nel mondo gramo," — -t 
Diss' eglt a noi,— *' guardatc I ed attendctc 60 

it to others, if ihcy so wish, to trace out the causes. Among 
the compounds of vcrtzre^ Dante does not use avertire^ pervert 
tire, diverUn^ or inverUre, but only ajwrrrffnr, which properly 
signifies vol^erc pHi case insiinif. a un luogn ; meaning, that 
dropsy throws the different members into disproportion, sind 
caused the face to be out of proportinn to the belly ; and for 
the reason that mul rottvtrti V umore, thai is, that the dropsy, to 
the hurl of the body, collects all the mointure into one part, 
and causes other partfi to hnvt: a deficiency of it. 

* riverU ot rinverit : The Vocabolatio dilla CrHsr»j (Manurzi) 
aays this v*-rb is the same as ihc Latin converUn or the Greek 
trvtrrpt^f^rn'. Venturi asserls thai Ihe word ]» exclusively 
Dantesquet but Lombard) disputes this, afBrming that it is 
used boih by Freiii, and Bcato Jacopone. 

^j^-ramu: Bianc {Voc, Dant.) derives the word from the 
German Gram, grief; Scartazzini says the w'ord is an adjective, 
And has |he sense of misero, ifalenle. In {he present passage 
mo»df> i^rattw &\^n'\^es motiiioiiohroio, i.e. /ii/criio. 

Iguardate^ ct seq. : Dante makes the coiner use the words of 
Jeremiah in Lamenluttons i, 12 : *' Behold, and see if there be 
any sorrow like unto my sorrow." Di Siena remarks that it 
ought not to be made a reproach to Dante that he has here 

fiut the words of Scripture into the mouth of such a sinner* 
or the ttatian language draws many of ita beauties from the 

504 Rcttdittgi on the Inferno. Canto XXX. 

Alia miseria del maestro Adamo ; * 

lo ebbi vivo assai di quel ch' io voIli,f 

Ed ora, tasso t un goccio] { d' acqua brama 

ancient classics^ and also from the Bible, and early Italian 
writers extracted many grave conceptions and cxpressJons 
from them without any thought di desecraling holy things by 
AP'plying them to the profane. 

*maaiTo Adamo- This notorious coiner was a native of 
Bresciai, He was eniplo^'ed by the Counts Ciuido of Romena 
lo coin for them a la.rge number of false Florentine florins. 
Some time later, a house at Borgo San Loren/oin the Mugcllo 
being burnt down, an immense hoard of thcbe fatac florins 
was discovered. Troya {Dti VcUro Aikg^or'Ko di DtinU, Flor- 
ence, 1826, p. 23) «ays the house in question belonged to the 
Anchioni. There arc some, however, who contend that the 
house of this family was not in the town of Borso Sart Lorenzo 
in the dlstricl of the MugcHo. b\it in the street a4 Fi&rrmii 
called Borgo San Lorenzo, Maestro Adamn, having been 
idcntilicd as the coiner, was burned alive on the publie road 
that leads from Florence to Kninena, and which crosbe^ a 
mountain near there that ever after bore the name oi l^ 
Consunia. And Troya adds; "The spot is still to be seen 
where it is believed thai Maestro Adamo suffered death* It 
is known as ki Maci^ ddl' uonso morto [the cairn of the dead 
man]: the passer-by is wont to cast a stone upon il, and calls 
to mind the beautiful lines by means of which Dante con- 
demned the coiner lo perpetual infamy." These words «f 
Troya may al^o remind us of the catrn under which Mar\fred'x 
body lay, as described by his shade to Oante iPurg. iii, 147- 

^* L' os&a del corpo min sariena ancora 

In co' del ponte presso a Bcnevento, 
Sotlo la guardia della grave mora.*' 
Troya says that in the time of Danic thiti false money was 
pCfit which was defiling the whnlc of Tuscany. Adamo U 
caJlt-d Maestro here and Miisiro further on to dctiotnc his con- 
spicuous pre-(mincncc in his evil art. We havt atre^dy ex- 
plained in a note on inj. xxvii, c)^, that the primary senM of 
matstro is an expert In anything." 
\ebbi vivo a^sm di quel (K io votH: Compare Luk* jtvi, a^ 

*5' . . 

Jgoroofois less frequent than goct'totth but 13 much Qscd to 
Tuscany still ; psriiciilarly it'i diminutive un goiticUtri/', Com* 
pare Boccaccio, De<t>ni. Giorn* viji^ Nov. 3 : *' E ivi fjxtac 
trorreva un fiumiccl di vernatcia, dclla migliorc cbe mai ■ 
bcwe, sen^a avervi cntro gocciol d' acquK.*^ 

Canto XXX. Reatiings on the Inferno. 



Li rusccJIetti che dei verdi colli 

Del Casentin* discendcin giuso in Arno, 65 

Facendo i lor canali freddi e molli, 
Semprc mi stanno jnnaiizi,t e non indarno;J 

ChJ: V imagine lor vie p'\fi m' ascitn^'a, 

Che it mal>£ and' 10 nel volto tul discarno. 
La rigida giustizia che mi fruga,^ 7a 

*Ciuiniin : The beautiful hill district of the upper valley of 
the Arno is known as the Casentino. In it are situated the 
great and ancient monasteries of Camaldoli and La Verna, 
and the range of the Prato Magno sqparates thtrm from Val- 
iombrosfl. Amp^rt ( Voyaf^c DanUs<iuc) says of the Casetitino; 
*• 11 y a dans ccs vers tntraduisibles un sentiment de fratcheur 
humide. Jc dois & la vcrit^ dc dire quD Lc Casentin etait 
beaucoup moins frais et moins verdoyant dans la reality que 
dans la poisie de Dante, et qu' au milieu de Taridili qui 
m'cntouraitt cctte potsic, par &a perfection mCme, me faisait 
^prouvcr quelquc chose du supplicc de Maitre Adam." 

■tmi stantio innanzi : Tasso is said to have imitated this 
pa&sagc in the following beautiful lines {Gtr. Lib. uni, 6a):^ — 
" ^' alcun giammai tra frondcggianti rive 
Puro vide stagnar liquido argenti?^ 
O piil precipitose ir acque vive 
Per alpc, o 'n pia^gia erbosa a passo lento ; 
Quelle at vago dcsio forma e descrive, 
E ministra matehaal suo tormcnto] 
Ch£ I' immaginc lor geltda e molle 
L' aaciuga e scalda, c nel pen&ief ribolle." 
} nan indurno : Horace (3 Carm. li, 13-16) compares a mi^r 
to one Buffering Jrom aropsy : — 

"Cre&cit indulgena &ibi dims hydrops, 
Nee sitim pellit, nisi causa morbi 
Fugerit venis, ct aquosus albo 

Corporc languor." 
In Ihc miser the insatiable thirst for gold is only increased by 
Its gratification, and in the dropsical man the drinking of 
water, so far from slaking thirst, only aggravates it tenfold. 
%fruga : Compare Purg. iii, 3 : — 

"Kivolti al montc ove ragion nc fruga," 

The primary meaning (yifrugare\% to hunt about, search for 

lythinig, to stimulate, to incite, but the Grflw Di:.K'n*irio 5. v. 

igt^ttt § ijf givcK to both the aibove passiagcs the sens? of 

fun^trt, casiigare; Donkin {Etym. Diet,) Uti; ^'Fkuqare U., 


Rfudings on the Inferno. Canto xxx. 

Traggc cagion del loco ov' io pcccai, 

A metier piu li miei sospiri In faga,* 

•* O ye, who are without any punishmerit — and I 
know not why— in the world of ang^uish (i^. 
Hell)," said he to us, " behold and contemplate 
the mtserj' of Maestro Adamo. When alive I had 
abundance of what I wished for, and now alas! I 
long^ for a drop of water. The little brooks, which 
from the green hiMs of the Casentino run down 
into the Amo, making their channels cool and 
moist, are ever before me, and not in vain ; for 
their image dries me up far more than the malady 
through which I lose the flesh of my face. The 
inexorable justice that torments me, takes tts op- 
portunity from the very place where I sinned, to 
set tny sighs the more on the wing. 

Maestro Adamo means that his memories add to 
his torment ; for the recollection of the cool and re- 
freshing streams flawing through the green pastures 
of his native hills, only serves to render mote in- 
tolerable the raging thirst that is burning his vitals. 
He goes on to tell Dante the name of the precise 
spot in the Casentino where his crime was perpe- 
trated {loco ov^ io peccai). 

tvi h Romcna,^ ]k dov' io falsfti 

Sp. kurgar, Pg. forcar^ N, Pr. fttrgd, O. Fr, fur^kr, to stir whh 
a slickt fioundt probe, search ; with inserted vowel, Vcn. fmn- 
gart, Sard, forugai. Cf. Ital. rinvtrgarc from vcr/^tt, Ptcdm. 
fHstif^tic from /ttstis, Lat, percontari^ which is perhaps frocD 

*A metUr pitt It miei ntsfriri in fuga: Bcnvenulo intrrprcti 
this: " id est. mca desidcna maf;is longc a me* ut non vaieMD 
conscqui quod opto." Btanc (Vff. Dant.j thinks that in thb 
passage fuga has the sense of /oga, la fougiu, the ardour, an- 
petuosily, of Adamo's dcfiifcs. 

i Homtna : Lard Vernon {in/errto, vol. iii,. tavola xcj) sx>% 
that th]& was a castle oi the Ci>nti Cuidi. and before tbcoi 

Canto XXX. Readings on the Inferno. 



La l«ga. '*' suggelUta del Batista^ 

Perch' \o il corpo su arso lasciai. 75 

There is Romena, where I falsified the coinage 
stamped with the Baptist, for which up above (on 
earth) I left my body burnt (at the stake)* 

The golden fiorin of the Florentine State bore on 
the one side the effig)' of St. John the Baptist, the 
patron saint of the city, and on the other the lily 
flower {fiort) from which the coin {fiurino) took its 

Adamo now speaks with bitter vindictiveness of 
the Counts Guidi, his former employers, declaring 
that he would even give up theprospect of quenching 

it belonged ta a branch of the Conti Albert!. It is now half 
ruined. It is situated tn the valley of the Arno, called the 
CftBentino, upon a hill about a mile to the SAV. of Prato- 
vecchio. The easlcrn sinpes of the hill in question arc 
washed by the Arno, and to the S. and S.W. the Kosso dellc 
Pilozze forms its boundaiy. The castle ^ave the title of Count 
of Romena to one oi the scions of the Ccpnii Guidi. In 1-^47 
Count Guido di A^hinolfo di Komcna obtained privilege from 
the Emperor Frederick It. He was the father of the three 
brothers mentioned in 1. 77, 

*fahai ta Ugtx : This means that Maestro Adamo fraudu- 
lently altered the legal proportions of the mctaU^ so as to 
diminish the intrinsic value of the currency. I find in Donkin's 
Elymuhgicai Dktionary^ " Lc^ti It., Sp, le}\ Fr. hi aloi^ standard 
of melab," The signification of "-aiUiy " (as in Par. ii, tjg) is 
of much later date. The ^nld tlorin of Florence bore the image 
of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of the city. I find in 
the Gran DiiiotmrUi, a. v. /^-^'if, g iG and 5 2&. a quotation from 
Vinccniiio Bor|;hini {Ddia MontUt Fioreittiiut). which shovi'S 
that Uga siKnified 'the coinage, the standard, the currency" : 
" E quanto alia leKa, pare che I' anno 1372 la variassono, con- 
duccndt^kla a once due d' argcnto, dicce di rame." Compare 
also the sarcastic allusion in Air. x^iii, IJ3-135: — 
"■ , , , I' ho fermo il disiro 

Si a cotui che voile v\\ cr solo, 

£ che per aalti fu tiatto al mikrtirOt'* 


Reiuihif^a on the Inferno. Canto XXx. 

his burning thirst, if only he could see them sufferiag 

beside him. 

Ma s' io vedessi qui 1' anima trista 

D] Guido, o d' Alessandro, o dt lor fratc** 
Per fonte Branda non darei la vista. 

But could E just see here the miserable soul of 
Guido, or of Alessandro, or of their brother (Aj^hi' 
nolfo), I would not give up the sight for the Koniei 

Dt Siena remarks that a more savage hatred is not 
conceivable ; and at the same lime it is one of those 
not unfrequent touches in which the gigantic power 
of Dante*s mind, and his marvellous art. blazes 

In Lord Vernon's great foHo edition of the Inftrno 
(Vol. iii, plates xcv, and xcvi) there are representa- 
tions of three different fountains bearing the name of 
Fonte Branda. They are : (i) the Fontebranda di 
Borgo alia Collina, in the Valdarno Casentinesc ; (2? 
the Fontebranda which lies to the South of the outer 
walls of the Castle of Romena, once a spring of much 
celebrity, but now nearly dried up ; and Q) the Fonte- 
branda in Stena, the waters of which are exceedingly 
abundant and limpid. Almost all the Commentator*. 
who probably knew no other Fontebranda than that 

*Guidi> , . . Alessandro . . . tar /rate : Tommas^o remarks that 
the allusion ta the wateni nf the Casentino, and to the Lordf 
of Koraena, through whose territory the said wAtcrs flowed, 
was probably because Dante took part in a campaign agairut 
Are/zo, waged from the Cssentino in 1289 (sec G. Villani, «it 
i^i), whtn he fought for the 5rst lime at Ihc battle of Camfnl- 
dino. Later on he received the hospitality of the CounM 
durtD;^ his exile ; but afterwards, being irritated at then inrfi' 
ciency [lUtppocti^gihc] during the disastrous expedition agaiful 
Florence, he Icit them. 

Canto XXX. Readings on the Inferno, 


oi Siena, took it for granted that Maestro Adaimo 
was alluding to that spring ; but there can be 
little doubt thai he meant the Fontebranda of 

We are to infer from the lines that follow, that 
Maestro Adamo must have heard of the death of one 
of the brothers Guidi, from some of the other shades, 
and either knows or conjectures that he is in Hell, 
but Adamo explains that mere knowledge of the 
suffering will not glut his vengeance^ as he cannot 

witness it. 

Dentro c' ^ V una gik, ec V arrabbiate 

Ombre * che van dJntorno dicon vero : 
Ma che mi val, ch' ho le membrc legate ? 

S' io fossi pur di tanto ancor Icggiero 

Ch' id po£esai in cent' anni andarc ua' onciii,t 
Io sarei mcsso I ^ik per la sentiero, 

CcTcando lut tra questa gcnte sconcia, 

Con tuttd ch' ella volge undici miglia,^ 
E men d' un mex/o di travcrso non ci ha. 11 



f *arrafihwte omhr^-; This refers to the Falsifiers of Persons, 

such as Gianni Schlcchi, Myrrha^ and others, who rush about 
the iiol^ia in maniacal Trcnzy, biting every Alchemist on 
whom ihcy can set their iccth. 

+ hm' oncia : The EtigUsh word inch is the equivalent to onria 
the twelfth pari of a foot, in more modern Italian called 
poliitf. In l*ar. ix, 57, Dante uses omia to express the twelfth 
part of a pound weight like the English ounte i^ 

"E atanco chi jI pcsasse ad oncia ad oncia." 
J lotarei nuao : The full sentence would be so mi sard messo 
> cammino. 

g vffige undici migUa : See Canto xxix, g, 

I won ci ha : Dante has introduced the^c three words by a 

ctic license to rhyme w-ith onciii and scoiKiif^ and (hey must 

pronounced an if they w-t-re writti^n nuncia. We have two 

niUr Cases, namely, in Inf. vii, aS, where pur li is made to 

'rhyme with urlt and hurii ; and in Pitr^. xjt, 4, where we find 

jfvr li rhjininR with f>itic£rH and mtrh' 


Readings on the Inferno, Canto XXX. 


lo son per lor tra si fatla famiKlia ; * 
Ei m* indussero a. battcre i (iorini,